BHIMBER: An Indian spy drone shot down by troops after it intruded into Azad Kashmir near here on Wednesday.
BHIMBER: An Indian spy drone shot down by troops after it intruded into Azad Kashmir near here on Wednesday.

ISLAMABAD/MUZAF­FARABAD: The army shot down on Wednesday an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle on spy mission near the Line of Control, prompting the Foreign Office to summon the Indian high commissioner to lodge a protest over the incident.

“An Indian spy drone, which intruded into Pakistan along the LoC near Bhimber today, was shot down by Pakistani troops,” the ISPR said in a statement, adding that it was violating Pakis­tan’s territorial integrity.

From the picture of the downed drone released by the ISPR, it appears to be a small quad copter type remotely piloted aerial vehicle. It was used for aerial photography, the ISPR said.

According to a source, the drone was spotted when it was trying to take pictures of a Pakistani post near the LoC. It was shot down by the air defence system. The camera and its recordings were recovered from the wreckage.

Indian High Commis­sioner T.C.A. Raghavan has been asked to come to the Foreign Office on Thursday where Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry will convey him Pakistan’s concern and protest over the incident.

Early this month, another drone had crashed near the Working Boundary in Shakargarh area of Narowal district. But it later transpired that it was an experimental drone being operated by Pakistan Rangers.

BSF resorts to unprovoked firing across Sialkot Working Boundary

Bhimber, where the Indian drone was shot down, is the southernmost district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and straddles the unmarked dividing line.

“The drone was partially damaged because of anti-aircraft gun fire,” an official told Dawn.

According to AP news agency, the Indian military rejected the Pakistani claim.

No spy drone from “our side has crossed into the Pakistani side and none of our unmanned aerial vehicles has been shot down by them”, said Col S.D. Goswami, an Indian army spokesman.

Our Sialkot Correspondent adds: Meanwhile, the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) resorted to firing in Phookaliyaan sector of the Sialkot Working Boundary on Wednesday.

According to officials of Punjab Rangers, the BSF started unprovoked firing with small and big weapons early in the morning, which went on well into the afternoon.

Some houses were reportedly damaged in the shelling, but no casualty was reported.

“The Punjab Rangers retaliated effectively,” an official of the paramilitary force said.

According to AP, Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire in Kashmir, killing a woman and wounding at least four other people on the India-controlled side, officials said.

D. Parekh, an officer of the Indian BSF, said Pakistani soldiers had first fired at a paramilitary soldier guarding a border post in Pargwal area. As troops tried to evacuate the seriously injured soldier, they came under heavy fire. The Indians retaliated, he added.

Pakistani troops also fired mortar shells, and one woman was killed and three other civilians were injured when one of the shells exploded near a border village, Parekh said, calling it “a blatant, unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan”.

Pakistan, however, accused India of resorting to “unprovoked firing”, which took place near Sialkot. The Pakistan Rangers said in a statement that border guards “befittingly” responded to the Indian firing.

Both sides said the skirmishes were continuing as of late Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday’s incidents came days after the prime ministers of the two countries met on the sidelines of a summit in the Russian city of Ufa in an effort to ease tensions.

Published in Dawn ,July 16th, 2015

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