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Posted at: Dec 7, 2017, 9:43 AM; last updated: Dec 7, 2017, 5:21 PM (IST)

China claims Indian drone violated airspace; MoD says it lost contact with ground control

China claims Indian drone violated airspace; MoD says it lost contact with ground control
It said the drone crashed in “recent days” and did not give a location.

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7

In response to China’s claim that an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has made an airspace violation and crashed on its side, the Ministry of Defence here said on Thursday that the UAV had crossed over due to some “technical problem”.

“The 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 Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Sikkim sector.”

The MoD said as per standard protocol, the Indian border security personnel immediately alerted their Chinese counterparts to locate the UAV.

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

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.

China’s Defence Ministry said the Indian UAV crashed into the Chinese side of the border.

The Indian drone “intruded” into China’s airspace and crashed recently, and China’s border troops had conducted identification and verification over the vehicle, said Zhang Shuili, deputy head of the combat bureau of the Western Theatre Command’s joint staff department.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the country had lodged a diplomatic protest to India over the drone violating the Chinese sovereignty.

The Chinese military’s western theatre command jurisdiction covers almost all of the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC), including Tibet’s border region with India and the Ladakh region.

“India’s move has infringed upon China’s territorial sovereignty, and we are strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to this,” Zhang was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

“We will fulfil our mission and responsibility and defend China’s national sovereignty and security resolutely,” he said.

The Chinese military’s claim came months after India and China were locked in a standoff in the Dokalam sector after the Chinese troops began constructing a road near the Bhutan trijunction.

The 73-day-long Dokalam standoff ended on August 28 after Chinese troops stopped building a key road close to India’s Chicken Neck corridor.

India had objected to the construction highlighting its security concerns. The road was being built by the Chinese troops in the area also claimed by Bhutan.

The military’s charge 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.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media here on Wednesday that Wang would meet top Indian officials on its sidelines.

This will be the first visit by a top Chinese official to India after the Dokalam crisis and commencement of second five-year term after Chinese President Xi Jinping.

It is expected to be followed by the 20th round of India-China boundary talks in New Delhi between Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who are the designated Special Representatives. — With PTI

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