Sunday, June 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

UAV goes missing
Lost on routine flight: India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 8
A day after US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said the tension between India and Pakistan was easing, New Delhi today said it had lost one unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which was on a routine flight along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Defence Ministry statement here came amid claims from Pakistan that it had shot down an Indian “spy plane” near Lahore late last night. Pakistan also claimed that the Indian UAV had violated Pakistani airspace.

However, sources here said the UAV was on a basic intelligence ‘pick-up’ flight and lost contact with the ground operators at about 11 pm. The use of UAVs to pick intelligence is routine in the present state of military alert on the Indo-Pak border.

Both countries have been using them to gather information from the other side of the border. A few months back, India had shot down one of the Pak spy planes which had violated Indian airspace.

The Defence Ministry here issued a statement, which said the UAV, which was on a routine flight near the Indo-Pak border, lost contact with the ground control around 11 pm.

Pakistan earlier claimed that its fighter jets had shot down an Indian “spy plane” at 10.30 last night.

“It is believed to have fallen down within 20 km south-south-west of Lahore,” the statement said, adding, “In the current state of deployment of the armed forces, the use of UAVs by either side is a routine feature”.


Pakistan claims shooting it down
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 8
Pakistan Defence Ministry said in Islamabad today that the “Indian aerial vehicle was on a reconnaissance and spying mission when it violated the Pakistan airspace close to Lahore and was shot down.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar
Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar looks on at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on Saturday. — Reuters photo

Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar said “penetration of the Indian plane into our airspace can only enhance the dangers existing in the presence of forces on both sides of the Line of Control.”

Mr Sattar said, “in a situation like this, responsible states must exercise utmost care to ensure that no provocations are made which may lead to escalation.”

Pakistan Government spokesman Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi said the plane fell near Haveli Dogran, about 20 km inside Pakistan territory.

He said the Pakistan army reached the spot soon after the incident and cordoned off the area. No one was injured in the incident.

According to Pakistani newspapers quoting the local police, the plane turned into a ball of fire before crashing into a sugarcane field.

Pakistan’s official APP news agency quoted Qureshi as saying that despite Pakistan’s “best efforts to de-escalate, India, in complete disregard of international norms, continues ceasefire violation by firing across the Line of Control and the working boundary, causing civilian casualties.”

ISLAMABAD: The Indian High Commission’s First Secretary was summoned after Pakistan claimed its fighter jets shot down an unmanned spy plane near Lahore, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. AFPBack

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