India using quadcopters to map Pakistan’s border deployments — experts

The photograph released by Pakistan Armed Forces on June 5, 2020, shows the quadcopter that was shot down by the the country's military troops in Khanjar Sector along the Line of Control. (Photo courtesy: ISPR)
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Updated 07 June 2020

India using quadcopters to map Pakistan’s border deployments — experts

  • Former military officials believe New Delhi’s approach can lead to greater instability in the region
  • The two nuclear-armed states have already experienced escalating tensions after India imposed a lockdown in Kashmir

ISLAMABAD: India has been intruding Pakistan’s airspace by operating its spy drones to collect “strategic information” regarding the army’s deployment, bunker positioning and movement of weapons along the Line of Control, military experts said on Saturday, warning that New Delhi’s activities can ultimately lead to a full-scale escalation along the international border.
The Pakistan Army has downed at least eight spy quadcopters of India this year that flew into its territory from across the LoC, a military control line that divides the disputed Kashmir region between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
Both Pakistan and India claim the Muslim-majority territory in full but control only parts of it and have fought at least three full-scale wars over it. Tensions have also remained high along the LoC since August last year when India unilaterally revoked the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir that offered the region a semblance of autonomy.
“India basically wants to crush Kashmir’s freedom movement by keeping us under pressure through different tactics, including intrusion of drones into our territory,” Lt. Gen. (r) Naeem Khalid Lodhi told Arab News on Saturday.
He described spying drones as a “dangerous thing,” adding they sent photos and data in real time back to their operators and helped forces engage their targets with greater precision.
“The modern drones are also cheap. It doesn’t make much of a difference to an army if a few of them are shot down by the adversaries. They are also small in size and difficult to detect on radar,” he said.
Lodhi maintained that militaries traditionally used highly trained humans for spying and reconnaissance purposes beyond the enemy lines, but modern technology like drones had radically altered this methodology.
Experts also believe that India’s intrusions into Pakistan’s airspace and unprovoked shelling across the border, especially on civilian population, constitute blatant violations of the November 2003 cease-fire agreement between the two countries.
Air Marshal (r) Shahid Lateef said that India might be checking Pakistan’s professional capability to detect “the smallest” target on radars by sending in the drones.
“We have shown our best professional capabilities to India by shooting down their drones recently. We also destroyed their fighter jets in February last year,” he said.
Lateef maintained that India would note troop movement and bunker positions along the LoC and update their military maps accordingly.
“India has been provoking us for a war through all these tactics, but we are exercising patience and discretion,” he said, urging Prime Minister Imran Khan to launch a diplomatic offensive to expose the “true face” of the neighboring country.
Another military expert, Maj. Gen. (r) Ejaz Awan, said that India had given reconnaissance drones to its forward units deployed along the LoC for spying across the border.
“These are cheap but valuable tools since they collect all the required information and transmit it back in real time,” he said. “The drones also don’t endanger human lives.”
Awan, however, said that military strategies and tactics were not easy to decipher through reconnaissance drones only. “These are cheap tricks, and our armed forces know how to respond to them,” he added.


300 Pakistani doctors return to Saudi after getting stuck in their country

Updated 10 July 2020

300 Pakistani doctors return to Saudi after getting stuck in their country

  • The medical professionals had taken leave from work before the COVID-19 outbreak and were visiting relatives in Pakistan
  • The remaining 200 doctors are scheduled to fly back to the Kingdom next week, says Pakistan’s envoy in Riyadh

ISLAMABAD: More than 300 Pakistani doctors, employed by Saudi hospitals, flew back to the Kingdom last week after getting stuck in their country for months due to the suspension of international flight operations in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Raja Ali Ejaz told Arab News on Friday.
The medical professionals had taken leave before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and were visiting relatives in Pakistan.
“Over 300 Pakistani medics and their families returned to Saudi Arabia last week,” the envoy informed. “The remaining 200 are scheduled to return during the second week of July.”
Ejaz said the embassy had raised the issue of Pakistani doctors with the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April 2020, soliciting permission for their return so they could help the Kingdom in its battle against the contagion.
“Pakistani doctors are working tirelessly since the beginning of the pandemic and constitute the backbone of the Kingdom’s COVID-19 response,” Dr. Asad Ullah Roomi, president of the Pakistan Doctors’ Group in Riyadh, told Arab News.
He added that the return of the Pakistani medical professionals would help Saudi Arabia deal with the new coronavirus.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Pakistan Embassy that made it possible for these doctors to return to the Kingdom and resume their duties,” he added.
Dr. Imran Chaudhry, resident physician at the Convalescence Hospital & PT Center, Al-Baha, was stuck in Lahore and recently returned to the Kingdom to rejoin his work.
He thanked the Saudi government for facilitating the return of the doctors, saying their presence in the country was vital to help COVID-19 patients.
“We wanted to rejoin our duty to serve the people in need, and the Saudi government turned it into a smooth process. The Kingdom even provided free tickets to those who could not make travel arrangements for their families,” he told Arab News.
“We had to wait for a long time, but we are back in Saudi Arabia now. At the moment, we have quarantined ourselves, but we will resume our work in the next few days,” Chaudhary said.