Drone attack at the strategic Indian Air Force station here on Sunday is yet another twist to the 32 years long terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and it has become a cause of concern not only for the security forces but also the civilian population.
The long stretched Pakistan-sponsored terrorism has witnessed several twists and turns since 1989 when it started with terrorists attacking security forces and civilians with guns. Thereafter, the fidayeens (suicide bombers), improvised explosive device (IED) and sophisticated AK-47, US made M-4 rifles, Chinese grenades etc kept on adding to the list of new weapons of terrorism.
However, Chinese drones now being used to target military installations have become a worrying factor. Thereafter, two drones were on Monday spotted flying over the Kaluchak and Ratnuchak military stations in the outskirts of the Jammu city. Kaluchak military station has remained on the target of terrorists and in 2002 three terrorists entered the family quarters of the Army and fired indiscriminately at the inmates, killing 23 persons, including 10 children, eight women and five Army men. Thirty-four people were injured in the attack.
The ISI and other agencies of Pakistan had some time ago introduced Chinese hexacopters (drones) to drop arms and ammunition for terrorists in the Indian territory in J&K and Punjab. But the targeting of the IAF station with two sophisticated IEDs dropped from drones is the first such terror attack in India. The Indian Army and BSF have during the past few months recovered dumps of arms and ammunition along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC).
Since the turn of the century, most drone strikes have been carried out by the US military. Drone warfare has increasingly been deployed by Turkey and Azerbaijan.
It is suspected that after India and Pakistan jointly agreed in February this year to strictly enforce the ceasefire pact of 2003, Pakistan was utilizing the opportunity to push in arms and ammunition for terrorists. The drone attack has also been sponsored by Pakistani Army and intelligence agencies.
What is worrying is that illegal residential clusters have sprung up around defence installations in Jammu and Kashmir. During the more than 24-hours long terror attack at Jammu’s Sunjwan military station in 2018, the then defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had told mediapersons that back up to terrorists was being provided to the terrorists from the illegal colony in the vicinity of the military station. She said steps will be taken to remove such illegal clusters from near the defence installations.