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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Dead falcon sparks spying fears on India border

PTI  Jaipur, April 15, 2013
First Published: 17:36 IST(15/4/2013) | Last Updated: 17:38 IST(15/4/2013)

Indian security forces have found a dead falcon fitted with a small camera which has sparked alarm near the country's highly militarised border with Pakistan, an official said on Monday.

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The carcass was discovered near the ancient fort city of Jaisalmer in the far west of the desert state of Rajasthan where the Indian armed forces regularly conduct drills and war games.

"It was fitted with some device and an antenna," a senior Border Security Force officer stationed in the state told AFP by telephone on condition of anonymity.

Suspicions were initially that the bird might have been used for military spying, but the camera did not appear very sophisticated and it might instead have been the work of Pakistani hunters, the official said.

"However, the possibility of it being an espionage attempt from Pakistan cannot be ruled out at this stage," he said, adding that an investigation was being carried out.

In 2010, Indian police detained a pigeon under armed guard after it was caught on an alleged spying mission.

Local officers in Punjab state, which lies to the north of Rajasthan, said the white bird had a ring around its foot and a Pakistani phone number and address stamped on its body in red ink.

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