New Delhi, Dec 7: China on Thursday claimed an Indian drone ‘invaded’ Chinese airspace before crashing on its side across the Sino-Indian western border, with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) alleging that India violated China’s territorial sovereignty. According to the Chinese state media, the PLA had voiced dissatisfaction with the “intrusion”.
“The Indian UAV intruded into China’s airspace and crashed recently, and China’s border troops have conducted identification and verification over the vehicle,” the Xinhua report quoted deputy head of the combat bureau of the Western Theatre Command’s joint staff department, Zhang Shuili, as saying. However, the report didn’t specify when and where the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) had entered into China’s airspace and what kind of markings the drone had.
“India’s move has infringed upon China’s territorial sovereignty, and we are strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to this. We will fulfil our mission and responsibility and defend China’s national sovereignty and security resolutely,” Zhang added, the Xinhua report said. It did not clarify who the PLA had complained to.
The report comes months after Indian and Chinese troops disengaged after a standoff situation on the Doklam plateau of Bhutan. India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff at Doklam, an area claimed by both Bhutan and China. India had intervened on Bhutan’s behalf as Chinese building activities threatened ‘Chicken’s Neck’– a narrow strip of land connecting Indian mainland to its northeastern states.
The Indian Army and the China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had, on August 28, decided to disengage their troops from the disputed area.