Flashpoint, as India asks China to give back drone
India has requested China to return the Indian Army drone operating in north Sikkim, which went down in the Chinese territory on Thursday, even as Beijing accused India of violating its air space and infringing upon its territorial sovereignty.
The possibility of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being shot down or electronically taken over cannot be ruled out, sources said. They added that if the damaged drone was broken into, sensitive data could be accessed.
The Army first contacted its Chinese counterparts on the hotline. Then, through diplomatic channels, New Delhi asked them to return it. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, however, said the country has lodged a diplomatic protest with India over the drone violating their sovereignty. The UAV was on a regular training mission inside the Indian territory when it lost contact with the ground control due to some technical problem and crossed over the Line of Actual Control (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 UAV’s location details. 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 Indo-China border areas,” a Ministry of Defence statement read.
The Chinese claim of India violating its air space comes ahead of Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to New Delhi to take part in the Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers’ meeting, to be held on December 11.
Shuang told journalists on Wednesday that Wang will meet top Indian officials on the meet’s sidelines. This will be the first visit by a top Chinese official to India after the Doklam crisis and commencement of second five-year term of Chinese president Xi Jinping. The drone incident comes in the backdrop of a recent 73-day standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam, which also happens to be in the Sikkim sector where the UAV was operating.
The Chinese troops retreated in August, putting an end to their road construction. India had objected to Chinese road building activity at the tri-junction in Doklam, which falls in a territory disputed by China and Bhutan. India had raised security implications of the proposed road.
Source:- DNA India