India on Thursday clarified on reports of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) entering China’s territory, saying that the UAV had crossed over the border in the Sikkim sector after losing contact with the ground control due to a technical problem.
The Defence Ministry said the Indian border security personnel, as per standard protocol, immediately alerted their Chinese counterparts to locate the UAV and they later reverted with its location. The ministry said the exact cause of the incident is under probe.
In Beijing, the Chinese defence ministry said the Indian drone recently “intruded” into its airspace and crashed in the Sikkim sector, prompting it to lodge a diplomatic protest with India over the violation of China’s territorial sovereignty. The UAV, according to officials, belonged to the Army.
The incident comes to light ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to attend the Russia-India-China trilateral meeting here.
“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. It did not clarify when the incident happened.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media that the Chinese border troops had taken a “professional and responsible attitude” to verify the device. Asked whether the UAV issue would figure in Wang’s talks with Indian officials when he visits Delhi, he said the “goal” of Wang’s visit was to attend the trilateral meeting.