An Indian army soldier takes up a position near the site of a gunbattle between Indian army soldiers and rebels inside an army brigade headquarters near the border with Pakistan, known as the Line of Control (LoC), in Uri on September 18, 2016. Militants armed with guns and grenades killed 17 soldiers in a raid September 18 on an army base in Indian-administered Kashmir, the worst such attack for more than a decade in the disputed Himalayan region. / AFP PHOTO / TAUSEEF MUSTAFA

India’s military said it thwarted a major threat when it intercepted two drones flying over an army base in occupied Kashmir early on Monday, a day after suspected explosives-laden drones were used to attack an airbase in the disputed region.

The military said troops around midnight spotted two drones separately flying over Kaluchak military base on the outskirts of Jammu city.

“Immediately, high alert was sounded and quick reaction teams engaged them with firing,” the military said in a statement. “Both the drones flew away.”

Troops launched search operations in the area, the statement said, adding that troops remained on high alert.

On Sunday, Indian officials said two drones carrying explosives were used to attack an airbase in Jammu city and called it the first such incident of its kind in India.

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Officials said two soldiers were lightly wounded in the two explosions, which also caused minor damage to a building on the base. No military equipment was damaged, they said.

The air base in Jammu is also used as a civilian airport but there was no disruption to civilian flights.

The incident, if proven to have been carried out by anti-India freedom fighters, would mark a major shift in strategy against New Delhi. Freedom fighters have primarily used classic guerrilla tactics such as ambushes, hit-and-run attacks, remote-controlled explosions and car bombings.

No group has so far commented on the two incidents.

Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and the Himalayan region is claimed by both in its entirety. Freedom fighters have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the goal that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

New Delhi deems Kashmiri resistance to be Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris call it a legitimate freedom struggle.

Both countries claim to have shot down spy drones in the parts of Kashmir under their respective control.

Indian authorities in recent years have raised the possibility of drone attacks by freedom fighters in the region, especially after repeatedly accusing Pakistan of using Chinese-made drones along the frontier to drop weapons packages for militant groups since last year.


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