In the first drone strike on an Indian military base, two explosions at Jammu airport
In what would be the first-ever drone attack on an Indian military installation, two explosions took place Sunday morning at the Air Force base at Jammu Airport.
Two members of the Air Force were slightly injured in the explosions which took place just before 2 a.m., less than six minutes apart.
Teams from the Indian Air Force (IAF), the National Bomb Data Center, forensic experts and the Jammu and Kashmir police rushed to the high-security airport after the blasts. One of the explosions damaged the roof of a building in the technical section while another bomb exploded in open ground.
Reports say the explosions, the first at 1:37 a.m. and the second at 1:43 a.m., were heard a mile away.
Leading military sources say this is being treated as a serious incident. An FIR has been registered under the Anti-Terrorism Illegal Activities (Prevention) Act, a strict law that allows suspects to be detained for up to six months without any solid evidence.
A team from the National Investigation Agency is also at the airport, located about 10 miles from the border with Pakistan.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken with Air Force Vice Chief Marshal HS Arora about the incident and Air Marshal Vikram Singh is in Jammu for investigation.
Jammu Airport in the city’s Satwari district is a dual-use facility under the control of the IAF and is also used to conduct passenger flights. Jammu Airport Manager Pravat Ranjan Beuria told PTI there had been no disruption to flights.
“Flights to and from Jammu Airport are operating on schedule,” Beuria said.
The ANI news agency quoted sources as saying that the possible target of the drones was a plane parked in the dispersal area.
The incident took place hours before Defense Minister and Army Chief General MM Naravane embarked on a three-day visit to Ladakh to review India’s operational readiness and interact with the troops in the context of a long standoff with China.
There have been reports over the past two years that Pakistan has used drones to drop weapons across the border.
The first incident occurred in August 2019 in Punjab when a crashed drone was found in a village in Amritsar.
In September, terrorists arrested by security forces reportedly revealed drugs and weapons dropped in the Punjab during eight drone sorties.
On June 20 last year, the Border Security Force (BSF) shot down a suspected spy drone in the Kathua district of Jammu. The following month, a network of tunnels across the border was revealed in Jammu.
In September, police in Jammu and Kashmir found weapons dropped by drones in a village in Akhnoor, also in Jammu. Three activists who had received weapons thanks to these drops were arrested.