Mirpur/Lahore - Pakistani military Wednesday shot down an Indian spy drone along the Line of Control in Bhimbher district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, a claim denied by Indian army despite ISPR’s releasing a photo of the crashed UAV.
“An Indian spy drone was shot down by Pakistani troops which intruded into Pakistan (along the Line of Control) near Bhimber today. The spy drone is used for aerial photography,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a brief statement on Wednesday.
The Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) was taking aerial photographs of the border areas on the Pakistani side of the LoC when it was shot down by the Pakistani troops deputed for the security of the forward posts in Bhimbher district of AJK, the official sources confirmed to The Nation.
Industry experts said the small, unarmed model was sold commercially for aerial filming and would contain no secret military technology. A photo supplied by the Pakistani military appeared to show a Chinese-made DJI Phantom 3, said Huw Williams, the Unmanned Systems Editor at IHS Jane’s International Defence Review, according to Reuters.
“Due to its limited operating range - about two km - if the Indian military is using the system it would most likely be for close reconnaissance or security work,” Williams. “Our Middle East editor believes that Islamic State is using similar systems,” said the international news agency.
India’s NDTV reported that Indian military has denied the Pakistan army’s claim. “Some reports of a drone crash in POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) are being referred to. No drone or UAV crash of Indian Army has taken place,” the defence ministry said in a statement. Indian army’s Northern Command has also issued a denial, according to NDTV website.
The shooting down of spy drone comes just days after ice breaking meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Russian city of Ufa. In a joint statement issued after the talks, the two countries had decided to arrange meetings of senior military officials to lower tensions along the LoC, a de-facto border that divides Jammu and Kashmir state.
Since 2004, the United States has conducted 419 drone strikes in Pakistan, targeting suspected members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The missiles have killed thousands of suspected militants and hundreds of civilians, according to media reports collated by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Pakistan often protests that the US strikes are an infringement of its national sovereignty and has been pushing for its own lethal drones. In March, the Pakistani military announced it had test-fired its own drone equipped with a laser-guided missile.