NEW DELHI – The Defense Ministry of India confirmed on Friday that an Indian drone entered Chinese territory due to a technical fault, adding that it had immediately informed Chinese authorities of the infraction.
China has expressed strong opposition for what they called a violation of its airspace, with both the Army and foreign ministry confirming an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle had crashed on its territory.
“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 the LAC in the Sikkim Sector,” India’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
“As per standard protocol, the Indian border security personnel immediately alerted their Chinese counterparts to locate the UAV,” the ministry added.
The Indian Ministry of Defense said that the Chinese side responded by providing the location details of the UAV.
“The exact cause of the incident is under investigation. The matter is being dealt with in accordance with the established protocols through institutional mechanisms to deal with situations along the India- China border areas,” it added.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Geng Shuang, said on Thursday that India’s actions had violated China’s sovereignty, threatening the peace and security of the border, and had lodged a diplomatic protest with New Delhi.
“The action of the Indian side violated China’s sovereignty and it’s not conducive to the peace and tranquility of the border area,” Geng said.
Both countries were embroiled in territorial tensions in mid-June when Beijing accused Indian troops of illegally trespassing in order to stop the highway construction in Doklam (or Donglang), a disputed border area between China and the neighboring Bhutan, an Indian ally.
The border scuffle had strained bilateral relations, with China accusing India of playing “with fire,” and warning that it could escalate the conflict.
Both countries agreed in September at a high level bilateral meeting to move ahead and resolve the dispute through established channels.