China criticizes India over drone crash inside border

The incident comes to light days before Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to Delhi to attend the Russia-India-China trilateral meeting on December 11

The incident comes to light days before Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to Delhi to attend the Russia-India-China trilateral meeting on December 11

"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 (to) the LAC in the Sikkim Sector", the defence ministry said in a statement, adding that Chinese forces were immediately alerted.

China lodged an official protest with India yesterday after charging that an Indian drone had "invaded" its airspace before crashing, months after the two sides ended a tense border standoff. India will go through diplomatic channels and ask for return of the drone.

In Beijing, both the defence and foreign ministries said the Indian UAV had crashed into the Chinese side of the border recently.

The incident took place in the Sikkim sector, where the two countries were engaged in a stand-off June 16 to August 28, close to the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction.

Terming the incident an infringement of China's territorial sovereignty, Zhang Shuili, deputy head of the combat bureau of China's Western Theatre Command's joint staff department, told the Chinese media the Indian UAV had entered Chinese airspace and crashed, with Chinese border troops investigating the drone.

"India has infringed on China's territorial sovereignty, and we are strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to this".

The dispute began in mid-June after Chinese troops started building a road on the Doklam plateau, known as Donglang in Chinese.

China did not give any exact location or time of the crash.

Beijing said the incident occurred "recently" at the border separating India's northeastern Sikkim state and China's Tibet region, but it did not say exactly where and when. "We will fulfil our mission and responsibility and defend China's sovereignty and security resolutely", he added.

India, however, said that the Chinese side was informed after the drone strayed into their territory.

It said the Chinese side responded with its location details.

"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".

The strong reaction from China also comes days ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to India for the Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting. Wang will arrive in India on December 10.