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The Indian Air Force confirmed for the first time on Friday that it shot down one of its own helicopters during clashes with Pakistan in February over Kashmir, killing all six on board.

"A court of inquiry was completed and it was our mistake that our missile hit our chopper," said the head of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria. "We will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in the future," he told reporters.

The military helicopter crashed on February 27 as Indian and Pakistani aircraft engaged in dogfights over Kashmir in their most serious military skirmish in years. The Indian military at the time gave no reason for the helicopter crash although media reports cited unnamed sources as saying it was friendly fire.

Confusion still surrounds how many other aircraft were shot down, with Pakistan saying it downed two Indian fighter jets but India saying it lost only one. India meanwhile said it shot down a Pakistani F-16 - an assertion repeated by Bhadauria on Friday - but Pakistan denied this at the time.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2019

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