Chinese spy balloon: US shares details with India; says spying also took place in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Weeks after it shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon, the US military held a brief conversation with the Indian side and some other like-minded countries to apprise them about the matter, a senior American military commander said on Monday in New Delhi. Gen Kenneth S Wilsbach, commander of the US Pacific Air Forces, said the US side held the interaction behind closed doors with most of the air chiefs of the region.
In early February, the US shot down a giant Chinese balloon that it said was spying on key military sites across America. The US used fighter jets to bring down the balloon off the coast of South Carolina which triggered a massive diplomatic crisis with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelling a scheduled trip to China following the incident.
There were reports of an unidentified object flying in the sky of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands over a year ago. “Certainly, we have some dialogue on it. I am not open to sharing what information we got from our analysis of the pieces of the balloon we got after it was shot down,” Wilsbach told a small group of reporters in New Delhi.
He was replying to a question on whether the US shared its concerns with India on the Chinese surveillance balloon as there were reports of some flying objects being spotted in some parts of India over a year back. The US military commander is in India in connection with a mega air exercise between the two countries.
Gen Wilsbach said it is important to protect the sovereignty of the airspace of various countries across the world. “We believe that your airspace here in India is your sovereign airspace and you should decide who gets to fly in it.
“We have countries that do not necessarily agree with that and they just decide they are going to violate the sovereignty and fly in it whether it is your airspace, ours, or Canada’s airspace,” he said. There were reports that the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by the US had also transgressed over Canadian territory.
Gen Wilsbach said violation of any country’s airspace is a breach of international law and norms and should cause concern. “We must encourage them to comply with the laws,” he said.
“We had very brief conversations with most of the air chiefs of the region. It was behind closed doors,” the commander said. The Indo-US defence ties have been on an upswing in the last few years. In June 2016, the US designated India a “Major Defence Partner” paving the way for sharing of critical military equipment and technology.
The two countries have also inked key defence and security pacts over the past few years, including the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 that allows their militaries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies. The two sides also signed COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) in 2018 which provides for interoperability between the two militaries and provides for the sale of high-end technology from the US to India.
In October 2020, India and the US sealed the BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) agreement to further boost bilateral defence ties. The pact provides for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics, and geospatial maps between the two countries.
[with PTI inputs]
PGurus is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with all the latest news and views
For all the latest updates, download PGurus App.
PGURUS — FILES CAN THEY BE DOWNLOADED . OPTION FOR DOWNLOAD IS NOT SEEN.
First make mess of yourself & then go giving explanation.