Incursion by drone sparks ire in Beijing

BEIJING (China Daily/ ANN) - China expressed on Thursday “strong dissatisfaction and opposition” to India after an Indian drone entered and crashed in Chinese territory, an incident that experts said may upset the recent positive development of Sino-Indian relations.

China’s Defense Ministry said in a release that the incident “undermined China’s territorial sovereignty”.

Chinese border troops examined and identified the drone, the ministry said, adding the Chinese military will “adamantly fulfill
its duty and protect the security of national sovereignty”.

Geng Shuang, spokesman for the
Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday that the move by India would undermine peace
and security in the border region.

“China urges India to immediately stop using drones to approach and come near the border, and to cooperate with China to maintain
regional peace and security,” he said.

India’s Defense Ministry confirmed the incident in an online statement on Thursday, saying the drone was engaged in a routine training
flight within the Indian border, but lost control due to technical difficulties
and flew over the border near the Sikkim region into Chinese territory.

Indian border guards immediately contacted the Chinese side to find the drone, and China reported the coordinates of the drone back to
India, the Indian statement said. The cause of the incident is still under investigation, but China and India are solving the issue via related protocols signed by both countries, it said.

In recent years, India has ordered many advanced drones from the United States and Israel to monitor its borders with China and
Pakistan, as well as Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean, according to Ma
Jiali, a researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

In June, India spent $2 billion on 22 advanced US maritime reconnaissance drones to bolster its surveillance
capability in the Indian Ocean, US media has reported.

Most of India’s drones are for reconnaissance missions, including gathering intelligence on army deployment,
logistic routes, radio signals and other key military intelligence, Ma said. 

“The drone incident may stir public anger, increase mistrust between the border troops on both sides, and undermine
regional peace and security,” he said.

Zhang Li, a researcher at the Institute of South Asian Studies at Sichuan University, said Sino-Indian military relations have been
relatively improved since the end of the standoff in the Donglang area in
August.

“China and India have established a series of effective communication channels and procedures to avoid and mediate border emergencies,”
Zhang said. “The drone incident will not have a huge repercussion thanks to these systems, but it will upset the recent positive momentum in Sino-India military relations.”

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