Indian police claim a Pakistani drone was linked to the capture of a terror cell allegedly affiliated to the Khalistan Zindabad Force on Sunday.
The Khalistan Zindabad Force is a banned militant group that has been fighting for the creation of a separate independent state of Khalistan for the Sikh community since 1988, when terrorism was at its peak in the state of Punjab.
Initial investigations allege that the drone was used to deliver weapons and communication hardware from Pakistan to terrorists based in either Punjab or Jammu and Kashmir, a senior police official told Indian daily The Tribune.
Police said they recovered five AK-47 rifles, pistols, satellite phones and hand grenades from the four people arrested on suspicion of being part of a terror cell.
The warning by state police led Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on 22 September to urge the central government to alert the country’s air force and paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) about the possibility of drones being used to supply weapons from across the border.
The captured cell was backed by the chief of the Khalistan Zindabad Force who is based in Pakistan and his associates in Germany, the senior police official said, adding that local terror sleeper cells had been used to deliver funds and weapons from across the border.
Those arrested are currently in jail in Amritsar city. Pakistani officials have yet to respond to the claims.
Sunday’s incident assumes greater significance in the wake of ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan over New Delhi’s revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on 5 August.
Kashmir has been a bone of contention between the two countries since they gained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947.
Both India and Pakistan control part of Kashmir but claim it in full. They've also fought three wars since then, two of them over Kashmir.