Rejecting the claims made by China that an Indian drone had invaded the Chinese airspace and crashed on its territory, India on Thursday said that the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) lost control due to technical snag and crossed over the Line of Actual Control in Sikkim sector. A statement by the Ministry of Defence also said that Indian border security personnel immediately alerted their Chinese counterparts over the missing UAV.
“An 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 LAC in the Sikkim Sector,” a statement from MoD said. “In response, Chinese side reverted with location details. Exact cause of the incident is under investigation. Matter being dealt with in accordance with established protocols,” it added.
Earlier in the day, Zhag Shuili, the deputy director of the army’s western theatre combat bureau had said that China strongly expresses dissatisfaction over India’s move of violating the Chinese airspace and will do everything to protect the sovereignty of the country. Though, India is yet to respond to China’s claim. “The Indian move violated China’s territorial sovereignty. We strongly express our dissatisfaction and opposition,” Xinhua news agency cited Zhang Shuili, as saying. “We will fulfill our mission and responsibility and defend China’s national sovereignty and security resolutely,” he further said.
The incident comes in the wake of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to India for the Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers’ trilateral meeting on December 11. India and China have recently seen the worst border standoffs in decades. The troops from both the countries were in a face-to-face situation near the Sikkim sector of the international border after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army tried to build a road in Doklam in June.