Pakistan summons Indian envoy in row over drone shooting
Islamabad has summoned New Delhi’s ambassador after the Pakistani army shot down an Indian spy drone over its side of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it had called in T. C. A. Raghavan, the Indian high commissioner, on Thursday to hear its “strong protest over airspace violation.”
The ministry denounced the intrusion of the drone as a violation of international law and Pakistan’s territorial integrity.
The development came one day after the Pakistani military said its troops had shot down “an Indian spy drone used for aerial photography” in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir.
However, India’s army rejected the violation of Pakistan’s airspace, saying none of its drones “crossed into the Pakistani side.”
“The photograph of the drone in question indicates that it is not of Indian design or of any UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) category held in the inventory of the Indian armed forces,” Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyan Jaishankar told reporters.
In another sign of escalating tensions between the two countries on Thursday, India and Pakistan traded blame for renewed skirmishes in Kashmir.
Islamabad held New Delhi responsible for two separate incidents in Sialkot District’s Chaprar sector and Rawalakot town’s Neza Pir sector in Pakistan-administered Kashmir that left five civilians dead and nine others injured.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan’s military media, said in a statement that the casualties came due to unprovoked firing by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) in the region.
New Delhi, meanwhile, accused Islamabad of shelling a border village in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, killing a woman and wounding three other civilians.
D. Parekh, a senior BSF officer, called Wednesday’s incident “a blatant, unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan.”
The Indian foreign secretary also said that his country was committed to steps that “contribute to ensuring peace and tranquility,” adding, “However there should be no doubt that any unprovoked firing from (the) Pakistani side would meet with an effective and forceful response.”
Kashmir lies at the heart of more than 67 years of hostility between India and Pakistan. Both neighbors claim the region in full but have partial control over it. India controls two thirds of Kashmir while the remaining one third remains under Pakistan’s rule.
The neighbors agreed on a ceasefire in 2003, and launched a peace process the following year. Since then, there have been sporadic clashes, with both sides accusing the other of violating the ceasefire.
Over the past two decades, thousands of people have lost their lives in the Kashmir unrest.