Two pilots on board a Cheetah helicopter of the Army were killed when it crashed near Mandala in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday morning, a defence spokesperson said.
The deceased officers have been identified as Lieutenant Colonel V V B Reddy and his co-pilot Major Jayanth A, he said.
Defence spokesperson Lt Col Mahendra Rawat said in Guwahati that the helicopter was on an operational sortie from Missamari in Assam's Sonitpur district to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
The flight encountered 'inconducive weather' and was returning to Missamari when it crashed, he said.
"The helicopter lost contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) around 9.15 am. Five search parties of the Indian Army, SSB and ITBP were immediately launched. The wreckage of the aircraft was found near Banglajaap east village of Mandala," Lt Col Rawat said.
"A Court of Inquiry is ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident," he added.
The Eastern Command, in a tweet, said the Army stands firm with the bereaved families.
'LtGenRPKalita #ArmyCdrEC & All Ranks offer tribute to the supreme sacrifice of Lt Col VVB Reddy & Maj Jayanth A, in the line of duty at Mandala, #ArunachalPradesh while carrying out operational flying of Cheetah Helicopter,' it said.
In a tweet, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, 'My heartfelt tributes to Lt Col VVB Reddy and Maj Jayanth A who lost their lives in a tragic Helicopter crash in Arunachal Pradesh. We salute their sacrifice, service and devotion in the line of duty. My deepest condolences to the bereaved families.'
Earlier in the day, Rohit Rajbir Singh, the superintendent of police, Special Investigation Cell (SIC), said villagers had found the crashed chopper ablaze in Dirang, and informed district officials.
"Villagers from Bangjalep at Dirang located the chopper around 12.30 pm," Singh said.
The area has no mobile connectivity and the weather is extremely foggy with visibility as low as five meters, he said.