China protests India's drone 'intrusion' near border

Chelsea West
December 10, 2017

Months after a tense standoff between China and India along their Himalayan border, Beijing on Thursday expressed anger at an Indian drone that crashed inside its territory. New Delhi said the drone crossed the border by mistake, and China had been informed.

Zhang Shuili, deputy head of the combat bureau of the Western Theatre Command's joint staff department, said the incident took place in "recent days" but did not provide an exact location. He did not confirm whether the incident had taken place near Dokalam where the two countries were locked in a 73-day-long border standoff which ended on August 28. The MoD said as per standard protocol, the Indian border security personnel immediately alerted their Chinese counterparts to locate the UAV.

The boundary talks were last held in Beijing in April a year ago but suspended as frequent border patrol confrontations culminated in the 70-day military face-off along an unmarked border at the junction of Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan.

Mohan Guruswamy, chairman of the Centre for Policy Alternatives Society, an Indian think tank, said the three-way mechanism, initiated in 2002, had been largely dominated by bilateral issues between China and India, despite initial expectations from Delhi for it to become a powerful voice on the global stage.

"I want to point out that the Sikkim section of China-Indian border has been delineated".

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"The action of the Indian side violated China's sovereignty and it is not conducive to the peace and tranquillity of the border area and China is dissatisfied with this and has lodged a solemn representation with the Indian side", Geng said.

In response, the Indian side said, "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".

In remarks carried widely by state media outlets, Zhang stated that the Chinese border forces had conducted "verifications" with regards to the drone.

Indeed, China appears to have monitored India with drones in the Himalayas for many years. But the mountainous border remains sensitive for both sides.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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