US-made Surveillance Drones Deployed Along LoC: Report

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ISLAMABAD: Aerial surveillance drones manufactured in the United States are being deployed by India for surveillance along the Line of Control in Poonch and Rajouri districts, media reports said on Wednesday.

“The data centre of these drones has been established in Srinagar for monitoring, processing and disseminating data to deployed troops,” The Express Tribune while quoting a source familiar with the development reported. “The US is refusing to supply the same drone to Pakistan for deployment along LoC.”

India’s drone inventory currently comprises mostly surveillance-only models made by Israel but with the acquisition of armed drones India “could be more likely to strike in Pakistan to retaliate after any terrorist attack which leaders in New Delhi immediately blame on Islamabad”, it added.

In July 2016, the Pakistan Army claimed to have shot down an Indian ‘spy drone’ in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK), in a sign of the decades-old tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours. “The spy drone was being used for aerial photography,” military’s media wing, ISPR, said.

The United States has dislodged Russia as the top arms supplier to India. New Delhi is also on the cusp of sealing a US nuclear reactor deal worth billions of dollars.

In return, Washington has given New Delhi access to high-end military technology, such as a new system to launch planes off aircraft carriers, and leaned on other countries to give India membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime, which cleared the way for the sale of the unarmed Predator.

“The drones, which can reach anywhere in Pakistan, obviously can heighten the tensions and increase the risk of a conflagration,” said defence analyst Lt-Gen (retd) Talat Masood.

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