India on Thursday rejected Pakistan's claim that its "spy drone" was shot down across the border, saying it appeared to be a commercially available Chinese model.
"It's not of Indian design or available in Indian armed forces' inventory. It appears to be of Chinese design and is commercially available off the shelves," foreign secretary S Jaishankar said at a press conference in New Delhi.
His clarification came hours after Pakistan foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry summoned high commissioner TCA Raghavan to protest Wednesday’s alleged airspace violation by India at Banchirian Sector near the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Chaudhry said India should respect and abide by all bilateral agreements and ensure that such "violations" are not repeated again.
But, questions were raised following the Pakistani military’s assertion that its troops had shot down “an Indian spy drone used for aerial photography”.
A picture released by Pakistani spy agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), of the remote-controlled pilotless quadcopter hardly looked like the type used for military purpose, though it may be customised to take aerial photographs.
From the picture of the wreckage, it looked like a China-made DJI Phantom 3 that can be bought off the shelf by anyone, including civilians.
“India doesn’t buy drones from China and the one in the picture does not appear to be of the kind used by India,” an official said.
He said the Pakistani allegation was bizarre because such drones are used by its police for highway patrolling. “There is a high possibility that they have deliberately or inadvertently shot down one of their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and passed the blame on India.”
His remarks were based on reports about Pakistani security forces blaming India for a similar drone that crashed near the boundary early this month, which later turned out to be a UAV of the Pakistan Rangers.
Industry experts too rejected Pakistan's allegations, saying that the unmanned model shown in photos released by Islamabad, was sold openly for aerial filming and could contain no secret military technology.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: "If THIS is the drone then our Def budget must really be very low. This is a Chinese toy available online also!!!"
The Indian army as well as air force denied any of their drones has been shot down or crashed in PoK.
The two nuclear-armed bitter neighbours, who fought three wars since 1947, regularly blame one another for such incidents.
In May, India accused Pakistan of flying trained spy pigeons after it caught one near Pathankot along the border.
The recent flare-up came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Russia’s Ufa in an apparent sign of a thaw in relations. But before Modi’s scheduled visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, hopes of an improvement in perennially difficult relations crashed as Pakistan shelled and fired at border villages and military outposts.