Pakistani officials said in a statement today that the Pakistan Army has shot down another Indian spy drone which flew across the Line of Control. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, the drone that was shot down in the Chirikot Sector this week is the fourth drone to violate the LoC within the last year.
The media wing for the Pakistan Army also claims that India has been violating the ceasefire with Pakistan more and more often since the beginning of last month. As a result, the government in Azad Jammu and Kashmir has drawn up a plan for residents who live along the LoC in case they need to evacuate.
Islamabad formally complained to New Delhi about its alleged violations of the ceasefire. According to reports, tensions long the Line of Control between India and Pakistan have become much worse since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn into office. Just last month, a school van driver was allegedly killed by the Indian army along the LoC.
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Troops with the Pakistan Army captured the alleged Indian spy drone after it was shot down. Officials believe that New Delhi uses the drones it sends over the LoC to take surveillance photos, spy on Pakistan, and map the positions of Pakistan Army troops in the area. Dawn reports that Pakistani officials were able to prove that a spy drone their army shot down in 2015 came from the Indian army by examining data retrieved from it.
Late last month, Pakistani officials expressed concern about Indian spy drone technology. New Delhi recently revealed its new Rustam 2 drone. Pakistani Foreign Office Spokesman Mahammad Faisal described it as “predator drone technology” during a weekly media briefing, multiple Pakistani media outlets reported. The Rustam 2 is widely viewed as being similar to the predator drones used by the U.S. It’s said to be able to fly for a full 24 hours straight. It isn’t clear whether India definitely intends to mount weapons on its drones.
Faisal described the development of Indian spy drone technology as “worrying” because of how New Delhi could use it to conduct surveillance over Pakistan. He also expressed concern about the technology in light of India’s military expansion and capabilities. Faisal believes India’s military capabilities are placing “increasing strain” on the stability of South Asia.
The tension over drone technology is only one part of the troubled relations between Pakistan and India. Earlier this week, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi traveled to Nepal for the first time since Nepali Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli entered office earlier this year. Pakistani officials describe Nepal as “a close friend.”
According to Live Mint and other media outlets, Indian officials are keeping a close eye on that two-day meeting between Pakistani and Nepali officials, however. Oli is widely seen as being friendly with China but not on good terms with India, so some believe that Nepal could end up becoming part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which New Delhi is vehemently opposed to because it passes through the disputed Kashmir region.