China criticizes India for crashed drone near border

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 8, 2017

China expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with India Thursday over the recent crash of an Indian drone in Chinese territory, an incident that could cause more friction along their disputed border. Sources said India will, through diplomatic channels, seek its return.

A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the drone crashed in the Sikkim section of China's border with India and that China has lodged a complaint with India over the issue. The source said the drone went missing earlier this week, but the exact date of the incident was not revealed.

"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 (to) the LAC in the Sikkim Sector", the defence ministry said in a statement, adding that Chinese forces were immediately alerted.

The Chinese side got back with the location details of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the Defence Ministry said. "The matter is being dealt with in accordance with the established protocol through institutional mechanisms to deal with situations along the India-China border areas", the statement said.

The newly-created Western Theater Command is the largest of the five military divisions in China. This command's jurisdiction covers nearly the entire LAC, and includes Tibet's border region with India and the Ladakh region. "India has infringed on China's territorial sovereignty, and we are strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to this We will fulfill our mission and responsibility and defend China's national sovereignty and security resolutely", Zhang said.

The incident took place in the Sikkim sector, where the two countries were engaged in a stand-off June 16 to August 28, close to the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction. The stand-off started on June 16, when the Indian Army stopped a PLA party from its road construction activity in Doklam area.

After the weeks of confrontation on the wind-swept Doklam plateau this year, the two sides agreed to an "expeditious disengagement" of troops about a week before Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in an effort to mend ties at a summit in China in September.

The incident comes to light ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to attend the Russia-India-China trilateral meeting here.

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