Islamabad (Staff Report): India has deployed US-made surveillance drones along the LoC in Kashmir’s disputed Himalayan state against Pakistan in a development strategic, defense experts warn it will destabilise the region.
Although India is not spilling out anything about the deployment, sources in Pakistan revealed that the surveillance drones with night-vision cameras have been deployed in Poonch and Rajouri sectors along the LoC.
The sources also confirmed that the data centre of these drones has been established in Srinagar for monitoring and dissemination of information to deployed troops.
In recent years, the Indian army has been actively pursuing programs to conduct swift and limited attacks against Pakistan, and acquiring armed drones is a part of New Delhi’s defence strategy.
The deployment will not only add to the escalating tension between the nuclear powers, Pakistan and India, but also complicate Pakistan’s ties with United States.
Earlier, United States has refused to supply similar drones to Islamabad despite repeated requests, over that Pakistan have concerns.
Former ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi said, “It is a matter of grave concern.” He further added that Washington and New Delhi had signed a strategic partnership pact during President Barack Obama’s term and India has possibly acquired the US drones under that agreement.
He also suggested that Pakistani government must have talks with US over the deployment issue but at the same time take adequate measures to prevent any negative fallout of the deployment of drones along the LoC.
Before signing pact with US, India has been using surveillance drones supplied by Israel.
In July 2016, the Pak army’s media wing (ISPR) stated that Pakistan destroyed an Indian ‘spy drone’ near the LoC that escalated tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours. “The spy drone was being used for aerial photography.” ISPR added at the time.
But India’s latest action of acquiring US-made unmanned aerial surveillance drones becomes real security concern for Pakistan.
Defence analysts caution that supply of armed drones to India can further speed up an arms race in the region and also push the two hostile neighbours closer to a military conflict.
Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood, former head of Pakistan Ordnance Factories that supply arms and ammunition to the military, stated that deployment of drones would significantly increase the risk of war between the nuclear-armed Pakistan and India.
He told, “The drones, which can reach anywhere in Pakistan, obviously can heighten tensions and increase the risk of a conflagration”.
The United States has dislodged Russia as the top arms supplier to India. New Delhi is also on the cusp of sealing a US nuclear reactor deal worth billions of dollars.