Did Indian drone ‘invade’ Chinese airpace? Here’s everything you need to know

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New Delhi | Updated: December 7, 2017 1:32:07 PM

The Chinese military has alleged that an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intruded into Chinese airspace and crashed.

china india, indian drone, indian drone china, chinese military, china india droneChina alleges an Indian drone intruded its airspace recently. (Representative Image/Reuters)

The Chinese military has alleged that an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intruded into Chinese airspace and crashed. Chinese state media Global Times on Thursday said, the Chinese military has “voiced strong dissatisfaction and opposition to the intrusion of an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) into China’s airspace.” Global Times report quoted Zhang Shuili, deputy head of the combat bureau of the Western Theater Command’s joint staff department, as alleging, “The Indian UAV intruded into China’s airspace and crashed recently, and China’s border troops have conducted identification and verification over the vehicle.”

Zhang further said, “India’s move has infringed upon China’s territorial sovereignty, and we are strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to this. We will fulfill our mission and responsibility and defend China’s national sovereignty and security resolutely.” Zhang, however, did not provide the exact location of the crash site. The jurisdiction of People’s Liberation Army’s western theatre command include Tibet’s border region with India.

India’s reaction

In a statement Ministry of Defence said, “An Indian UAV which was on a regular training mission inside the Indian territory lost contact with the ground control due to some technical problem and crossed over the LAC in the Sikkim Sector. As per standard protocol, the Indian border security personnel immediately alerted their Chinese counterparts to locate the UAV. In response, the Chinese side reverted with the location details of the UAV. The exact cause of the incident is under investigation. The matter is being dealt with in accordance with the established protocols through institutional mechanisms to deal with situations along the India- China border areas.”

Drones to counter Chinese threat

In the wake of growing Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean, India was pushed to buy more drones from the US. Recently in June, the US president Donald Trump had authorised the sale of two dozen Guardian drones to India for around US$3 billion. The Guardian drone would help India monitor the movement of Chinese battleships in the Indian Ocean.

Tensed relation

Soldiers of bot India and China were recently engaged in over the two-month-long standoff in Dokalam. The standoff had started after the Chinese troops started constructing a road near the Bhutan trijunction. It ended on August 28 when Chinese troops decided to stop building a key road close to India’s Chicken Neck corridor. India had objected to China’s road construction because of security concerns. The area in which China was building the road is also claimed by Bhutan.

The standoff was called off just around the time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to visit China to participate in the BRICS summit 2017. It was then reported that months after India snubbed China by not participating in the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping didn’t want any setback in upcoming BRICS summit being hosted by his country. However, it was seen as a temporary step by China and speculated by experts that tensions may return soon.

The Indian Express had then reported a government source as saying that the troop withdrawal by both countries in Doklam was “mutual” and “simultaneous” but “sequential”. It said the terms of the breakthrough is also under wraps.

Before the end of the standoff, Chinese media and officials had launched a war of words against India over the standoff.

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