THE Indian spy drone after it was shot down.
THE Indian spy drone after it was shot down.

MUZAFFARABAD: The Pakistan Army troops shot down an Indian spy drone after it intruded into Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) from across the restive Line of Control (LoC), military’s media affairs wing said on Wednesday.

“Pakistan Army troops shot down an Indian spying quadcopter in Rakhchikri Sector along LOC. The quadcopter had intruded 650 metres on Pakistan’s side of the LOC,” said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar in a tweet.

The Rakhchikri sector is located in AJK’s Haveli district and has been constantly witnessing heavy shelling by Indian troops, which had of late left two civilians died and as many wounded on April 30 and another six injured on May 7.

According to military sources, Indian troops frequently use quadcopters for aerial photography of Pakistani posts along the LoC as part of their intelligence-gathering operations and select target before carrying out cross-LoC shelling.

On April 9 also, Pakistan army downed a quadcopter in the region

Only on April 9, Pakistani army had shot down an Indian quadcopter in Sankh sector of AJK’s Haveli district after it intruded some 600 metres into the AJK territory to conduct surveillance.

“Such unwarranted acts by Indian Army are clear violation of established norms [and] existing Air Agreement between two countries and reflect Indian Army’s consistent disregard to [the] Ceasefire Understanding of 2003,” the ISPR had said after the April 9 shooting.

Last year, several Indian reconnaissance drones were shot down by Pakistani troops in different areas along the LoC, three in Rakhchikri sector alone in a short span of time between March and May.

The heavily militarised LoC that splits the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir between nuclear armed neighbours India and Pakistan had been frequently witnessing skirmishes and artillery duels, causing mostly civilian losses, in a serious breach of the Ceasefire Agreement that the two armies had signed in November 2003.

On the other hand, tensions between China and India had also escalated along their de facto border in Ladakh, which New Delhi made a ‘union territory’ after separating it from occupied Kashmir under its controversial Aug 5 move.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2020