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Saturday, 8 June, 2002, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
India admits spy plane downed
Part of the wreckage of the Israeli-made plane
Wreckage of the plane which is said to be Israeli-made
Indian officials have admitted losing an unmanned plane over Pakistani airspace, a few hours after Islamabad reported it had shot down a spy plane.

Responsible states must exercise utmost care to ensure that no provocation be made that might lead to escalation

Abdul Sattar, Pakistani Foreign Minister

The confirmation came from the Indian Defence Ministry, which described it as a "routine matter".

Ministry spokesman P K Bandopadhyay told the BBC that the Indian military lost contact with the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) late on Friday.

Following the incident, Pakistan's foreign minister called for restraint by the nuclear-armed rivals to prevent any escalation of tension over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

It came as a United States envoy, Richard Armitage, left the region after talks on the issue.


Mr Bandopadhyay said the aircraft had crashed but would not confirm that it had been shot down by Pakistani forces.

Pakistani soldiers examine the wreckage of the Indian spy plane
Spy planes are used by both sides

"We are concerned, but the use of UAVs in conditions of heightened tensions is routine. Both sides use UAVs in such situations," he said.

According to a Pakistani military statement, air force jets brought down the plane about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the border with India, at 2300 local (1700 GMT).

Local journalists were taken to see the wreckage, which fell near the town of Raja Jang in Punjab province.

Defence analyst Rahul Bedi told BBC News Online the spy plane belonged to a batch of Israeli-made Searcher and Hunter aircraft, which India purchased about four years ago.

He said the planes are widely used and the government in Delhi finalised another deal with Israel for further purchases.

Diplomatic moves

A Pakistan Government spokesman said the spy plane showed India's "complete disregard" for "international norms".

Rising tension:

1 October 2001:
38 killed in attack on the Kashmir assembly in Srinagar
13 December 2001:
14 killed in attack on the Indian parliament building in Delhi
14 May 2002:
More than 30 killed in attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir
21 May 2002:
Moderate Kashmiri politician Abdul Ghani Lone shot dead

However Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said his country was continuing to show "restraint and responsibility".

"In a situation like this, responsible states must exercise utmost care to ensure that no provocation be made that might lead to escalation", he said.

On Friday US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage ended his mission to the region saying tensions between the two sides were "a little bit down".

In Washington, the US State Department said there had been a significant decline in the number of infiltrations from the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC), which divides the disputed territory.

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is due to visit the region next week.

Further deaths

Indian and Pakistani forces were reported to have continued to trade heavy artillery and gunfire across the LoC overnight.

I have seen two Indo-Pak wars in 1965 and 1971 and still the pain is there

Ashok Kumar

In the latest incidents, Indian security officials said seven people were killed in separatist violence in Indian-administered Kashmir.

An army spokesman said three soldiers were killed in the village of Loren Mandi in the Poonch district of Jammu during a gun battle with Islamic rebels.

He said four Muslim men were also shot dead overnight in a separate incident in Thilloo village in the northern district of Udhampur. The spokesman said the four men were members of a village defence committee.

Correspondents say four members of the same family in Pakistan-administered Kashmir were also killed when a shell hit their house.

India and Pakistan have massed about a million troops along their border after an attack last December on India's parliament in Delhi.

India said the attack was carried out by Pakistani-based extremists supported by the government in Islamabad.

The BBC's Adam Mynott
"Not much is left of the plane"
The BBC's Susannah Price
"The Pakistani authorities haven't announced any measures they want to take"

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See also:

08 Jun 02 | Media reports
08 Jun 02 | South Asia
05 Jun 02 | South Asia
05 Jun 02 | South Asia
01 Jun 02 | South Asia
08 Jun 02 | UK Politics
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