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Pak needs Indian helicopters without pilots

Source: PTI
October 17, 2005 21:41 IST
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Altering its stand on the participation of Indian helicopters to conduct relief operations in quake-hit areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan on Monday said it would accept the choppers from India but without pilots.

'As regards the question of helicopters that had been subject of comments in media, Pakistan is also willing to accept helicopters from India if these were offered without pilots,' a statement by Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said in a statement.

"Given the obvious sensitivities, we could not accept involvement of India military on our side for relief operations," she said.

The statement marks a change in Pakistan's previous stand of not accepting the helicopters. Amid reports that India has offered to provide the choppers to specially help ferry the injured to hospitals and to rush relief supplies, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said a few days ago that it was not in need of Indian helicopters.

He had said Pakistan has enough copters as other countries have also rushed some to it. Currently about 45 helicopters are taking part in the relief operations.

This included ten from United States, four from Afghanistan, two from Germany and three from Japan.

India has reportedly made the offer through diplomatic channels considering Pakistan's sensitivities but did not press it after Islamabad declined the offer.

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