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Indian military: 2 drones intercepted over base in Kashmir

Indian military: 2 drones intercepted over base in Kashmir

India’s military says it thwarted a major threat when it intercepted two drones flying over an army base in Indian-controlled Kashmir early Monday, a day after suspected explosives-laden drones were used to attack an air base in the disputed regionBy AIJAZ HUSSAIN Associated PressJune 28, 2021, 10:28 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSRINAGAR, India — India’s military said it thwarted a major threat when it intercepted two drones flying over an army base in Indian-controlled Kashmir early Monday, a day after suspected explosives-laden drones were used to attack an air base in the disputed region.The military said troops around midnight spotted two drones separately flying over Kaluchak military base on the outskirts of Jammu city.“Immediately, high alert was sounded and Quick Reaction Teams engaged them with firing,” the military said in a statement. “Both the drones flew away.”Troops launched search operations in the area, the statement said, adding that troops remained on high alert.On Sunday, Indian officials said two drones carrying explosives were used to attack an air base in Jammu city and called it the first such incident of its kind in India.Officials said two soldiers were lightly wounded in the two explosions, which also caused minor damage to a building on the base. No military equipment was damaged.The air base in Jammu is also used as a civilian airport but there was no disruption to civilian flights.The incident, if proven to have been carried out by anti-India rebels, would mark a major shift in strategy against New Delhi. Rebels have primarily used classic guerrilla tactics such as ambushes, hit-and-run attacks, remote-controlled explosions and car bombings.No rebel group has so far commented on the two incidents.Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and the Himalayan region is claimed by both in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.New Delhi deems Kashmir militancy to be Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris call it a legitimate freedom struggle.Both countries claim to have shot down spy drones in the parts of Kashmir under their respective control.Indian authorities in recent years have raised the possibility of drone attacks by rebels in the region, especially after repeatedly accusing Pakistan of using Chinese-made drones along the frontier to drop weapons packages for militant groups since last year.Pakistan, including the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, has repeatedly warned that India could stage a “ false flag” attack to divert attention from its domestic difficulties.

Indian police say bomb-laden drones hit air base in Kashmir

Indian police say bomb-laden drones hit air base in Kashmir

Indian officials say they suspect explosives-laden drones were used to attack an air base in the disputed region of KashmirBy AIJAZ HUSSAIN Associated PressJune 27, 2021, 3:02 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSRINAGAR, India — Indian officials said Sunday they suspect explosives-laden drones were used to attack an air base in the disputed region of Kashmir, calling it the first such incident of its kind in India.Dilbagh Singh, the region’s police director-general, told the private news channel New Delhi Television that “drones with payload were used in both the blasts.” Singh called the attack an act of terrorism.Two soldiers were lightly wounded in the explosions, according to a military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with military regulations.India’s air force tweeted that the attack caused minor damage to a building on the base, located in the southern city of Jammu in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, while the second blast hit an open area. It said no military equipment was damaged.The incident, if proven to have been carried out by anti-India rebels, would mark a major shift in strategy against New Delhi. Rebels have primarily used classic guerrilla tactics such as ambushes, hit-and-run attacks, remote-controlled explosions and car bombings.Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, who was head of the Indian military’s Northern Command from 2014 to 2016 which covers Kashmir, said Sunday’s potential drone strike poses a “huge and serious challenge” for the security apparatus. He said commercial drones are easily available on the market and don’t need advanced technology to be used in attacks.“Drones have a small visual signature and traditional radars hardly pick them up,” Hooda said. “It will require a whole range of new modifications for the military to intercept and defuse these kinds of attacks.”Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and the Himalayan region is claimed by both in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.New Delhi deems Kashmir militancy to be Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris call it a legitimate freedom struggle.Both countries claim to have shot down spy drones in the parts of Kashmir under their respective control.The air base in Jammu is also used as a civilian airport, and the Press Trust of India news agency quoted the airport’s director, Pravat Ranjan Beuria, as saying there was no disruption to civilian flights.Indian authorities said forensic investigators were surveying the area, and were later joined by the country’s premier anti-terrorism agency, the National Investigating Agency.Last week, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a crucial meeting with pro-India politicians from Kashmir for the first time since New Delhi stripped the region’s semi-autonomy and imposed a slew of administrative changes, which many likened to the beginning of settler colonialism.Indian authorities in recent years have raised the possibility of drone attacks by rebels in the region, especially after repeatedly accusing Pakistan of using China-made drones along the frontier to drop weapons packages for militant groups since last year.Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.

Modi to meet Kashmir leaders 1st time after altering region

Modi to meet Kashmir leaders 1st time after altering region

India’s prime minister is scheduled to hold a crucial meeting with pro-India politicians from disputed Kashmir for the first time since New Delhi stripped the region’s semi-autonomy while jailing many of them in a crackdownBy AIJAZ HUSSAIN Associated PressJune 24, 2021, 8:56 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSRINAGAR, India — India’s prime minister was scheduled to hold a crucial meeting with pro-India politicians from disputed Kashmir on Thursday for the first time since New Delhi stripped the region’s semi-autonomy while jailing many of them in a crackdown.Experts say the meeting is meant to ward off mounting criticism at home and abroad after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government in August 2019 downgraded the region’s status, split it into two federal territories — Ladakh and Jammu-Kashmir — and removed inherited protections on land and jobs for the local population.Since then, Indian authorities have imposed a slew of administrative changes through new laws, often drafted by bureaucrats, that triggered resentment and anger as many likened the moves to the beginning of settler colonialism. Modi has repeatedly called the changes overdue and necessary to foster economic development and fully integrate Kashmir with India.Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, which both claim it in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.Modi was chairing the meeting in New Delhi later Thursday that is likely to be attended by the Himalayan region’s 14 political leaders, including Modi’s own party members.Among those invited are Kashmir’s former three top elected officials — Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti, who was a regional coalition partner of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party for nearly two years after the 2016 state elections.The three and few other invited leaders were among thousands arrested and held for months in 2019. They have criticized India’s policies in Kashmir and formed an alliance with four other parties to fight them, calling them “spitefully shortsighted and unconstitutional.”Ahead of the meeting, the alliance leaders asserted that their demand is restoration of the region’s former special status.The meeting was happening in the backdrop of the reaffirmation of a 2003 cease-fire accord between India and Pakistan in February as part of a peace deal brokered by the United Arab Emirates.Sushant Singh, a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research, a public policy think tank in India, said geopolitical reasons forced “Modi’s hand for an outreach towards Kashmiri political leaders.” In a tweet, he said Tuesday that the UAE-brokered backchannel talks led to “certain commitments from the Modi government on Kashmir.”International pressure, particularly from President Joe Biden’s administration, has also been piling on the Indian government to reverse some of its recent changes.Dean Thompson, acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, told a congressional hearing early this month that although New Delhi had taken some steps like the release of prisoners and the restoration of 4G internet access in the region, “there are other electoral steps we’d like to see them take and that we have encouraged them to do and will continue to do so.”