India, Pak In War Of Words Over Drone Sighting

The Indian High Commission building in Islamabad.

New Delhi: A drone was spotted over the Indian High Commission complex in Islamabad last week and Pakistan has been asked to investigate the incident and prevent recurrence of such “breach of security”, the external affairs ministry said on Friday.

The Indian mission has also lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over the incident through a note verbale which is a diplomatic communique, people familiar with the development said.

The incident came to light amid growing concerns in the security establishment in India after explosives-laden drones were used to carry out an attack on the Jammu Air Force station on June 27.

“A drone was spotted over the premises of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on June 26. This has been taken up officially with the government of Pakistan. We expect Pakistan to investigate the incident and prevent recurrence of such breach of security,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.

It is learnt that the drone was sighted within the complex when an event was being held at the mission.

In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri rejected there was any ‘drone incident’, saying no proof has been shared with it to substantiate the charge and alleged that it was an “Indian propaganda”.

We have seen the Indian MEA’s statement and reports in certain sections of the Indian media alleging a drone flying over the premises of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. These preposterous claims have no basis in facts and no proof whatsoever has been shared with Pakistan to substantiate these allegations,” Chaudhri said.

Asked about the drone attack on Jammu airbase, Bagchi declined to comment, and only said that the investigation into it is in progress.

According to security officials, it was the first instance of suspected Pakistan-based militants deploying unmanned aerial vehicles to strike at vital installations in India.

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Friday said the drone strikes in the Jammu airbase were an “act of terror” that was aimed at targeting key military assets.

Army Chief Gen MM Naravane on Thursday said that the easy availability of drones has increased the complexity of security challenges from both state and state-sponsored actors.

Security forces in Jammu and Kashmir are on high alert following Sunday’s drone attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) station here.

Two explosives-laden drones crashed into the IAF station at Jammu airport in the early hours of Sunday, perhaps the first time that suspected Pakistan-based militants have used unmanned aerial vehicles in an attack, officials said.

Drones were spotted hovering over vital Army installations in different areas of Jammu during night hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as well.

While the Army said it thwarted a drone activity on its brigade headquarters at Kaluchak and Ratnuchak during the intervening night of Sunday-Monday, it neither confirmed nor denied the movement of drones over its military stations at Sunjwan, Miran Sahib, Kaluchak and Ratnuchak during the subsequent days.

BSF Opens Fire At Pakistani Drone Along IB

Meanwhile the Border Security Force (BSF) on Friday opened fire on a suspected Pakistani surveillance drone after it tried to venture into the Indian territory on the International Border here, officials said.

The drone was spotted by the alert BSF personnel in the Arnia sector on the outskirts of Jammu around 4:25 am, they said.

The officials said the suspected drone returned to the Pakistani side when the border guards fired half a dozen rounds to bring it down.

“Alert BSF troops fired at a small quadcopter belonging to Pakistan today (Friday) morning as it was trying to cross the International Border (IB) in the Arnia sector. Due to this firing, it returned immediately,” a BSF spokesperson said.

He said it was meant for carrying out surveillance of the area.

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Press Trust of India

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