A Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet of the Indian Air Force on Monday shot down a Pakistani military drone in Bikaner sector of the Indo-Pak border using an air-to-air missile, government sources said.
The Pakistani drone was shot down by a Sukhoi-30 aircraft at around 11:30 AM, minutes after a ground-based radar station detected the flying machine, they said.
This was the second drone to be down by the IAF in a week; the first was taken out over the Kutch region of Gujarat by an Israeli-designed SPYDER surface-to-air missile system on February 26, according to reports.
The radar station in the area detected the enemy drone following which one of the fighter jets deployed in the area shot it down, they said. The downing of the drone came in the midst of heightened tension between India and Pakistan after IAF struck a terrorist training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot and subsequent retaliation by Islamabad.
Drones are commonly used at border areas by the armed forces of both India and Pakistan to spy on each other as they are lightweight, easy to operate and relatively inexpensive.
The Air Force’s latest action comes amid simmering tension between the two neighbors after a terror attack in Pulwama led to India responding with an air strike inside Pakistan, and a subsequent skirmish between the air forces of India and Pakistan – the first since the 1971 war.
In the bombing, a militant from Jammu and Kashmir killed 40 Indian Central Reserve Police Force members in Pulwama. The militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility, while Pakistan’s government condemned the attack and denied any involvement.
Reacting to the suicide attack, the Indian Air Force on 26 February violated the Line of Control (LOC) to conduct what it called “preemptive” aerial strikes that targeted a terrorist training camp and killed several militants.
On the latter day, Pakistan conducted airstrikes in Indian-administered Kashmir which caused no casualties or damage.
Also on 27 February, Pakistan claimed that it had shot down two Indian jets over Pakistani airspace. Pakistan captured one Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, and he was subsequently released on 1 March as a peace gestue
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