Army UAV crashes in Chi­nese ter­ri­tory

It was on a reg­u­lar train­ing mis­sion

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

An un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle (UAV) of the Army that crashed into the Chi­nese side of the bor­der was on a reg­u­lar train­ing mis­sion and lost con­tact with ground con­trol due to tech­ni­cal prob­lem, the Min­istry of De­fence said here in a state­ment.

It also claimed that “as per stan­dard pro­to­col, the In­dian bor­der se­cu­rity per­son­nel im­me­di­ately alerted their Chi­nese coun­ter­parts to lo­cate the UAV.” The clar­i­fi­ca­tion came in the wake of China’s De­fence Min­istry ac­cus­ing In­dia of vi­o­lat­ing its airspace.

“The In­dian move vi­o­lated China’s ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty. We strongly ex­press our dis­sat­is­fac­tion and op­po­si­tion,” the deputy di­rec­tor of the com­bat bureau of the Chi­nese Army’s western theatre, Zhang Shuili, said in a strongly worded state­ment.

In re­sponse, the In­dian side 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.”

The MoD said the Chi­nese side re­verted with the lo­ca­tion details of the UAV. The ex­act cause of the in­ci­dent is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

An MoD spokesper­son said, “The mat­ter is be­ing dealt with in ac­cor­dance with the es­tab­lished proto- cols through in­sti­tu­tional mech­a­nisms to deal with sit­u­a­tions along the In­dia-China bor­der ar­eas.”

The in­ci­dent comes just days ahead of Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi’s visit to In­dia for the De­cem­ber 11 meet­ing of Rus­sia-In­di­aChina for­eign min­is­ters.

The lat­est de­vel­op­ment is also a set­back to the ef­forts by both sides to re­pair the bi­lat­eral ties in the wake of the 72-day stand­off be­tween the mil­i­taries at Dok­lam. The con­fronta­tion was re­solved on Au­gust 28.

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