MARCH 20, 2019
ISLAMABAD – Shaken by last month’s Indian Air Force (IAF) strikes in Balakot, Pakistan has started deploying weaponised drones across the LoC, according to a Border Security Force (BSF) report accessed exclusively by India Today. Pakistan is flying armed surveillance bots along dozens of locations including Uri, Poonch, Rajouri, Nowshera and Sunderbani, the report noted.
Recently, security forces shot down several Pakistani drones attempting to sneak into India. A Pakistani unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) was neutralised in Gujarat. According to security sources, Islamabad is quickly upgrading its Burraq UCAVs.
The Indian Army, the IAF and paramilitaries have been alerted about the neighbour’s drone deployments reported by the BSF, the sources said. Surveillance and reconnaissance drones can be equipped with a range of weapons, such as missiles and laser-guided bombs, to strike targets on land or in the air.
According to security sources, Pakistan is trying to procure at least 48 Wing Loong II drones from China, as part of one of the biggest military deals the two countries struck in October last year. Because of its features – such as a low-wing monoplane slender fuselage and a V-tail – the strike-capable mediumaltitude Chinese UAV bears a strong resemblance to its US counterpart, MQ-9 Reaper, defence experts say. The baseline Wing Loong II, first unveiled at Airshow China 2016, is developed and manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, according to defence journal Jane’s.
On September 19, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged greater military cooperation with Pakistan.
The two countries’ militaries should further deepen exchanges and co-operation in various fields and at all levels, take resolute measures against terrorist forces, make efforts to ensure the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor construction, and serve as a reliable safeguard for the common interests and common development of the two countries, Xi was quoted by the Xinhua news agency during a meeting in Beijing with Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa six months ago.
According to Indian security sources, the growing defence ties between Islamabad and Beijing reflect China’s commitment to strengthen Pakistan further.
This shows China and Pakistan have become brothers in arms and they will together protect not only Islamabad’s military and economic interests, including those in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, but also terrorists like Azhar, a security official said.