Indian Airbase in Kashmir Hit by Explosive-Laden Drones Injuring Soldiers

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Two explosions crashed into the Indian Air Force station (IAF), believed to be a terror attack in the disputed region of Kashmir. The strike is the first of its kind in India — blasts hit six minutes apart on June 27, 2021, according to Indian Express.

The first explosion struck around 1:30 a.m IST (4:00 p.m. EDT June 26). It ripped the roof off of a single-story building. The second hit an open area. No military equipment was damaged, according to the IAF.

Two Indian Air Force personnel were injured during the bombing. No other casualties were reported.

Jammu and Kashmir Director-General of Police Dilbag Singh told the private news channel New Delhi Television that “drones with payload were used in both blasts.” He said the strike on the high-security IAF station in the Jammu Airport is a terror attack.

KashmirSingh added the attack is under investigation by the IAF, police, and other agencies.

If this incident is proven to an act carried out by anti-India rebels, it would be a change in strategy against New Dehli. Thus far, rebels have used guerrilla warfare methods such as hit-and-run attacks, remote-controlled explosions, vehicle bombings, and ambushes.

Lt. General Gen. D.S. Hooda, the former head of the Indian military’s Northern Command, which covers Kashmir, explained that drone strikes could pose a serious challenge for the region’s security system. He said it is easy to purchase commercial drones and there is no need for advanced technology to attack its target. He added:

Drones have a small visual signature and traditional radars hardly pick them up. It will require a whole new range of new modifications for the military to intercept and defuse these kinds of attacks.

Indian-Pakistani Kashmir Conflict

Located in the Himalayans, Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, however, each country claims the Muslim-majority region in its entirety. Anti-India rebels have fought against Indian rule for decades. Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel’s goal is that the territory becomes united either under Pakistan or as an independent country.

New Dehli contends the Kashmir militancy is Pakistani-sponsored terrorism. However, Pakistan denies they are backing the so-called terrorist attacks. Most Kashmiris call the rebellion a legitimate struggle for freedom.

The conflict started when India and Pakistan gained their freedom from the former Mogul Empire, on August 15, 1947. During the negotiations, Kashmir was given the choice to become part of one of the two countries and decided on India. In 1965, a territorial war broke out between the countries.

In 1972, the Simla Agreement established the Line of Control, which did not ease the conflict. A ceasefire was signed in 2003, yet the rebels persist leaving tens of thousands of casualties — civilians, rebels, and government forces.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

AP: Indian police say bomb-laden drones hit air base in Kashmir; by Aijaz Hussain
Indian Express: Twin explosions at IAF station in Jammu airport terror attack: J&K DGP
Project Ploughshares: India – Kashmir (1947 – first combat deaths)

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of flowcomm’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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