Indian Drone Violated Chinese Airspace Due to Technical Problem

The incident comes to light days before Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to Delhi to attend the Russia-India-China trilateral meeting on December 11

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". India had objected to Chinese road building activity at the tri-junction in Doklam, which falls in a territory disputed by China and Bhutan.

In Beijing, both the defence and foreign ministries said the Indian UAV had crashed into the Chinese side of the border recently.

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.

A spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of Defense confirmed that the two countries were investigating the incident and that China had shared the location of the UAV's crash on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control.

"The action of the Indian side violated China's sovereignty and it is not conducive to the peace and tranquillity of the border area and China is dissatisfied with this and has lodged a solemn representation with the Indian side", Geng said.

He said the drone had crashed in the Sikkim section.

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. Zhang said his country would defend its national sovereignty against such intrusions. They have also had ongoing disputes over sovereignty in other border areas, notably Aksai Chin, a Himalayan region that straddles their territorial demarcation in the west. "The matter is being dealt with in accordance with established protocols through institutional mechanisms to deal with situations along the India-China border areas".

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. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet to discuss a range of regional and global issues.

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