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China says Indian drone violated its airspace, crashed

10 December 2017
China says Indian drone violated its airspace, crashed

New Delhi had attributed this to a technical problem.

Neither China's military nor its ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) said when or where exactly the drone had crossed over, except that the incident took place at the Sino-India border in Sikkim.

The claim was first made by Zhang Shuili, deputy head of the combat bureau of China's Western Theater Command's joint staff department, who said an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle had recently intruded into China's airspace and crashed.

"China-India relations are at a low point and the resumption of such high-level communications is an important bid to rebuild trust and confidence as top leaders realise that neither country can afford confrontation or even clashes despite their decades-long border disputes, and divergent and often conflicting national interests". He also said the Chinese border troops had taken a "professional and responsible attitude" to verify the device.

On Thursday, China said an Indian drone "invaded" its airspace before crashing on its side of the border, prompting Beijing to lodge protests with India.

"China demands that India immediately stop the border fringe activities of the aircraft and work with China to maintain peace and stability", Geng Shuang added.

Beijing was also uneasy about India's plan to intensify surveillance and build as many as 50 more outposts and 25 roads near the border, including a 150km road in Uttarakhand in the central sector, which has largely remained peaceful over the years.

Beijing had lodged a diplomatic protest with India over the violation of its territorial sovereignty.

The Defense Ministry statement, meanwhile, said the UAV was on a regular training mission inside Indian territory when it lost contact with ground control due to some technical problem and crossed over the LAC.

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

"This action by India violated China's territorial sovereignty".