Indian drone crashes in China territory due to tech snag; Beijing protests

All about the Indian military's IAI Heron drone

An army statement said the drone crossed over into Chinese territory after a "technical problem" and Chinese soldiers had been alerted in keeping with the "standard protocol".

The major summertime standoff at the India-China-Bhutan triboundary region of Doklam took place in that sector; while troops from both sides retreated their positions in a "disengagement" in August, they remain in the area, even as the harsh winter sets in.

The possibility of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being shot down or electronically taken over can not be ruled out, sources said. "We express strong dissatisfaction and opposition", Zhang Shuili, a military official in China's western battle zone command, was quoted as saying in a ministry statement.

Earlier this year Chinese and Indian troops confronted each other near the Sikkim border after India opposed Beijing's attempt to build roads in the disputed Doklam plateau.

The clarification came in the wake of China's Defence Ministry accusing India of violating its airspace.

India, for its part, said the drone was on a regular training mission over its territory but had lost contact with ground control due to a technical failure.

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Indeed, China appears to have monitored India with drones in the Himalayas for many years.

He said the Sikkim section of the China-India border has been delimited and Chinese side along the borderline is China's territory. The exact cause of the incident is under investigation, the MoD said.

"In response, the Chinese side reverted with the UAV's location details".

The UAV incident comes ahead of a trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of India, China, and Russian Federation next week in New Delhi.

Beijing often referred to the 1890 Britain-China treaty during the lengthy Doklam stand-off, stating that it has defined the Sikkim section of the boundary with Tibet, therefore the border in that area has been settled. Indian army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand told reporters that they had lost control of the drone which then crossed into Chinese airspace.

Asked if the incident will have a negative impact on the bilateral meet, Geng said: "I think Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit's goal is to attend the foreign ministers' meeting".

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