Fri, Dec 08, 2017 - Page 6 News List

China says Indian drone invaded its airspace, crashed

TERRITORIAL VIOLATION:PRC border troops ‘took a professional and responsible attitude,’ and carried out identification verification of the device, an official said

AFP, BEIJING

An Indian drone has “invaded” China’s airspace and crashed, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said yesterday, months after the neighbors ended one of their worst border standoffs in decades.

“The Indian move violated China’s territorial sovereignty. We strongly express our dissatisfaction and opposition,” deputy director of the People’s Liberation Army’s western theater combat bureau, Zhang Shuili (張水利), said in a statement.

Zhang did not give details about when or where the incident happened.

Chinese border troops “took a professional and responsible attitude,” and carried out identification verification of the device, Zhang said.

“We will earnestly fulfill our mission of duty, and firmly defend the sovereignty and security of our country,” he added.

The Indian embassy in Beijing declined to comment.

In August, the two nations pulled back their troops to resolve a tense deadlock over part of a Himalayan plateau claimed by both China and Bhutan, an ally of India.

The standoff began in mid-June after Chinese troops started building a road on the remote Doklam plateau.

India has an army base nearby and moved troops into the flashpoint zone to halt the work, prompting Beijing to accuse it of trespassing on Chinese soil.

After both sides withdrew, India’s army chief said in September that his nation could not afford to be complacent and must be prepared for war.

“As far as our northern adversary is concerned, flexing of muscles has started,” General Bipin Rawat said at a think tank event in New Delhi, in reference to China. “The salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner ... testing our limits of threshold is something we have to be wary about and remain prepared for situations which could gradually emerge into conflict.”

Rawat said India also has concerns that its archrival Pakistan — an ally of China — could take advantage of the tensions.

India and China went to war in 1962 over the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The latest episode has fed into a broader competition for regional influence between the two Asian powers.

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