China says Indian drone ‘invaded’ its airspace and crashed

File: A Chinese soldier (L) next to an Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India's northeastern Sikkim state. China said, Indian drone had invaded its airspace before crashing, months after the two sides ended a tense border standoff. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2017
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China says Indian drone ‘invaded’ its airspace and crashed

BEIJING: China lodged an official protest with India on Thursday after charging that an Indian drone had “invaded” its airspace before crashing, months after the two sides ended a tense border standoff.
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.
India’s army said the unmanned aerial vehicle was on a “regular training mission” when ground control lost contact with it “due to some technical problem” and it crossed over the demarcation line.
The Chinese foreign ministry urged India to “stop the activities” of drones near the border after the UAV “invaded” its airspace.
“The action of the Indian side violated China’s territory and is not conducive to the peace and tranquility of the border area,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing.
“China is dissatisfied with this and lodged solemn representations with the Indian side,” he said, referring to the official diplomatic protest.
A Chinese army official said earlier that border troops “took a professional and responsible attitude” and carried out identification verification of the device.
“We will earnestly fulfil our mission of duty and firmly defend the sovereignty and security of our country,” the deputy director of the Chinese army’s western theater combat bureau, Zhang Shuili, said in a statement.
The Indian army said the country’s border security personnel “immediately alerted” their Chinese counterparts to locate the UAV.
“The exact cause of the incident is under investigation,” Indian army spokesman Col. Aman Anand said in a statement.
“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 drone incident follows a summer standoff in a Himalayan area where Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan meet.
In August, the two nations pulled back their troops to resolve the tense deadlock over the area, which is claimed by both China and Bhutan, an ally of India.
The dispute began in mid-June after Chinese troops started building a road on the Doklam plateau, known as Donglang in Chinese.
India has an army base nearby and moved soldiers into the flashpoint zone to halt the work, prompting Beijing to accuse it of trespassing on Chinese soil.
After both sides withdrew, India’s army chief said in September that his country could not afford to be complacent and must be prepared for war.
“As far as our northern adversary is concerned, flexing of muscles has started,” General Bipin Rawat said at a think tank event in New Delhi, in reference to China.
“The salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner... testing our limits of threshold is something we have to be wary about and remain prepared for situations which could gradually emerge into conflict,” the army chief said.
Rawat said India also has concerns that its arch rival Pakistan — an ally of China — could take advantage of the tensions.
India and China went to war in 1962 over the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
The latest episode has fed into a broader competition for regional influence between the two Asian powers.
The two emerging economies both have large populations and a growing middle class.
China has invited India to join President Xi Jinping’s new “Silk Road” project to revive ancient trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.
But the proposed economic corridor has alarmed India, partly because one of the links cut through Pakistan-administered Kashmir, disputed territory that New Delhi claims is illegally occupied.


Philippine villages at risk of landslides forcibly evacuated

Updated 48 min 48 sec ago
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Philippine villages at risk of landslides forcibly evacuated

  • Authorities have limited the number of rescuers and other people inside the stricken villages
  • About 270 government troops and policemen were deployed to prevent residents from returning to high-risk villages

NAGA, Philippines: Philippine troops and police forcibly evacuated residents of five villages vulnerable to landslides after the collapse of a mountainside buried dozens of homes and killed at least 22 people in a central region.
Some residents left on their own, but the bulk of more than 1,200 people in villages adjacent or near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities Thursday night, police Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas said Friday.
Survivors heard a thunderous roar, crashing and banging when the mountainside fell onto rural houses and shanties in two villages in Naga city on Thursday morning. Some trapped in the sludge managing to send text messages pleading for help but the messages stopped within a few hours.
Distraught relatives begged for more backhoes to be brought to the mound of earth and debris, where they hoped loved ones could be pulled out alive, but there were far too few machines to dig for the dozens of people missing.
Resident Nimrod Parba said one of his trapped relatives called for help about three hours after the landslide hit, entombing 13 of his kin. “They are still under the rubble, they are still there. They are covered in shallow earth, we need a backhoe,” Parba said.
A man embracing a child in a house was dug out by rescuers using a backhoe Thursday night in a poignant scene witnessed by journalists.
Authorities have limited the number of rescuers and other people inside the stricken villages, fearing heavy rains on the loose and soaked ground could cause new slides. Thursday’s landslide also covered part of a river, prompting officials to order a temporary canal to be dug.
About 270 government troops and policemen were deployed to prevent residents from returning to high-risk villages, Sinas said.
President Rodrigo Duterte is to visit Naga city in Cebu province later Friday as he faces his latest crisis.
The landslide in the central region occurred as parts of the far northern Philippine deal with damage from a typhoon that hit last weekend. At least 95 people were killed and more than 50 are missing, many in the gold-mining town of Itogon in the north where landslides hit houses and a chapel where people had gathered in the storm.
Cebu province was not directly hit by Typhoon Mangkhut but the storm intensified the seasonal monsoon rains that normally fall in tropical Asia.
It’s not clear what set off the landslide, but some residents blamed limestone quarries, which they suspect may have caused cracks in the mountainside facing their villages.
The Philippines is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries. It is lashed by about 20 tropical storms each year and has active seismic faults where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Poverty forces many people to live in those vulnerable areas, making natural disasters more deadly.