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Pictures, videos retrieved from downed Indian drone released

Pictures, videos retrieved from downed Indian drone released

ISLAMABAD: Army released on Monday pictures and video-clips retrieved from the spy drone it downed earlier this month near the Line of Control to back up its claim that the remotely piloted aerial vehicle was used by India for snooping in areas on the Pakistani side of LoC.

“Photos and videos recovered from the internal memory of quadcopter provide irrefutable evidence that it was flown by Indian army for reconnaissance inside Pakistan side of LoC,” the ISPR said in a statement.

A total of 39 pictures and several video-clips were salvaged from the drone that is said to have been operated between July 8 and 15. Six of the pictures and a short video-clip were released to media.

The first of the six pictures made public is that of an office of an Indian communication and Electronic Firm M/s ASCOM, where the drone is believed to have remained prior to deployment. The other is that of an Indian soldier standing near it. Next is of a company headquarters of the Indian Sector prior to its departure. Soon after the start of the flight the drone captured an image of the Indian flag flying over the post from where it started its journey, while another gives a full view of the Indian post. The last of the six pictures is of the Indian side of LoC.

The short video-clip shows that it took off from an Indian post after which it kept flying close to the LoC before crossing over and taking images of the Pakistani post.

The army said that the geographical histogram of the drone available with it detailed the locations it traversed from July 8 to 15. Emphasising on the authenticity of the data, the army said it can be got verified from independent sources.

The drone was shot down by Pakistani troops on July 15 over Banchirian sector (near Bhimber) after intruding from the Jaurian sector of occupied Kashmir.

A day after the downing of the drone, Indian foreign secretary S. Jaishankar had questioned the Pakistani claim that it was operated by his country for spying.

“The picture of the drone in question shows it’s not of Indian design or available in the Indian armed forces’ inventory. It appears to be of Chinese design,” he said.

Then he went on to reject the Pakistani allegation as bizarre and said: “There is a high possibility that they have deliberately or inadvertently shot down one of their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and passed the blame on India.”

Military analysts say that India has been using drones for reconnaissance for target selection before carrying out cross-LoC shelling.

“Of late, a sudden spike both in terms of intensity, calibre escalation and airspace violations by India has been observed along the LoC and working boundary,” the ISPR said. Since June 9, Indian troops committed 35 ceasefire violations, it said.

Banchirian sector, where the drone was shot down, was targeted last month.

The army said that India was “exhibiting aggressive posturing through enhanced movement of troops, extensive reconnaissance, targeting of civilians and increased use of UAVs and drones violating airspace of Pakistan”.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2015

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