Sunday February 17, 2019
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Pakistan successfully tests ‘indigenous’ armed drones – should India be worried?

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burraq

By Harshmeet Singh

Pakistan military’s announcement regarding the successful tests of their indigenous armed aerial drone is discomforting news for many, including India. Named ‘Burraq’, the all weather laser guided and armed drone missile is capable of hitting targets with ‘pin point accuracy’.

Though the Pakistan army called it an indigenous weapon, reports of China putting forward a helping hand with the drone technology have also surfaced in some media reports. Some of the reasons behind such reports include the strong resemblance of the designs and technology of Pakistan’s drones to China’s CH-3 drones. Notably, India is yet to officially announce its ability to mount weapons on drones.

Reactions to India or Taliban?

Soon after the successful tests, Pakistan was quick to announce that it will deploy these indigenous armed drones to keep a vigil on the growing terrorist activities at the Pakistan Afghanistan border. This announcement was aimed that assuring the world that after the US forces back out of Afghanistan, Pakistan would have the capability of keeping an eye on the notorious elements at the Pakistan Afghanistan border. Ironically enough, Pakistan has been protesting USA’s frequent drone strikes, aimed at taking out the militants from Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Soon after the merciless school attack at Peshwar, the Pakistan military went into an offensive mood, carrying out continuous airstrikes in the country’s tribal areas. Hours before the test’s success was announced, an army statement said that 48 militants were killed in the last 24 hours in the recent airstrikes over the tribal areas.

This was Pakistan’s second major military announcement within a week. Earlier in the week, the military conducted successful tests of Shaheen III medium range ballistic missile which also boasts of a nuclear weapon carrying capacity. With a maximum range of 1,700 miles, this missile is capable of striking nuclear weapons to any part of India. This range also equips Pakistan to hit most parts of Middle East, including Israel and Iran. There are also speculations that Pakistan military could be aggravating the range of Shaheen III in front of the media in order to create panic among its neighbouring and far off enemies.

Over the past couple of years at least, Pakistan has been trying to buy offensive drones from the US, a request which the US has continuously declined out rightly. Pakistan military was successful in testing indigenous surveillance drones in 2013 but couldn’t mount it with offensive weapons due to technical shortcomings.

Arms race with India

A number of experts believe that Pakistan’s recent spree of military weapon tests are a response to India’s growing military budget and might. India’s plans of a missile defence system, up gradation of submarine fleet and successful tests of Agni V (India’s first intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of over 3,100 miles) had certainly given some sleepless nights to Pakistan.

While India has a clearly stated ‘no first use policy’, Pakistan has never adopted any such policy with its nuclear arsenal. Pakistan leaders have always maintained that nuclear weapons would protect them should India decide to invade Pakistan. With Indian army easily outnumbering Pakistan’s in terms of the number of soldiers and sophistication of weapons, Pakistan sees nuclear weapons as its saviour on the doom’s day. Recently released data from the ‘Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ suggest that Pakistan currently leads India in the number of nuclear weapons. Pakistan currently possesses 120 atomic weapons as compared to India’s 110.

Multiple reports suggest that Pakistan’s scientists are busy working on a missile system which could evade India’s ‘under construction’ missile shield.

Odd timings?

The successful tests of Shaheen III and Burraq come just a couple of weeks after Indian foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s visit to Pakistan where he described his talks with his Pakistani counterpart as “determination to forge a cooperative relationship”.

During the visit, Nawaz Sharif told Jaishankar “Both the countries need to start a new chapter in their relationship by working towards resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue… we must think together, act together and move forward with the spirit of bringing the two nations closer to each other,”. But with Pakistan clearly running on a dual centre of power, Pakistan’s Government would need to do some work to bring their military onboard and speak a common language towards India.

Next Story

India Says Pakistan’s Links with Pulwama Attack Clear For All to See

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits

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Arun Jaitley
"The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.", says Jaitley. Pixabay

India has rejected Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s claims denying her country’s links to the Pulwama terror attack, saying that JeM, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, is based in Pakistan, and the “links are clear and evident and for all to see”.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson on Friday termed as “preposterous” the demand for an investigation, saying there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

The spokesperson said India has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on bilateral relations and it has been sheltering terrorists and terror organisations such as JeM. He said Islamabad has not taken any action against such groups despite international demands.

India also demanded that Pakistan take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create a conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror.

The spokesperson’s response came over Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s briefing rejecting Pakistan’s involvement in the terror attack on a paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least 45 troopers. Janjua met envoys of P-5 countries late on Friday.

The spokesperson said JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the attack was a matter of “grave concern” and it had been condemning “heightened acts of violence in the (Kashmir) Valley”. Pixabay

“The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan. LeT and other terror groups have welcomed the news of the attack. These groups are also based in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their presence and their activities.

“They have not taken any action against these groups despite international demands, especially against groups and individuals proscribed by the UN and other countries. The links to Pakistan are clear and evident for all to see. Its own Ministers have shared the same podium with UN proscribed terrorists,” the spokesperson said.

He said there was audio-visual material linking JeM to the terror attack.

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“The demand for an investigation is preposterous when there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. There are also other audio-visual and print material linking JeM to the terrorist attack. We have therefore no doubt that the claim is firmly established,” the spokesperson said.

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits.

“We have not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on relations with India. What we have noticed however, are claims to offer dialogue on the one hand, while sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terrorist organisations such as JeM on the other,” the spokesperson added. (IANS)