The crash comes at a time of renewed fighting between Maoist guerrillas and the Indian government
On 29 March 2021, an unidentified drone belonging to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the research agency of the Indian Ministry of Defence, crashed on landing. Based at Jagdalpur airport in the southern state of Chhattisgarh, it had just carried out a mission against Maoist rebels, according to the official statement. The incident, which did not cause any casualties, blocked the operation of the airport for several hours.
The DRDO's practical work
This drone operated by the DRDO (evaluations, tests of new payloads ... ?) would have been bought abroad according to government sources. Yet its structure and dimensions are reminiscent of the Rustom 1 tactical drone developed by the same DRDO. A drone that had already crashed in Jagdalpur more than a decade ago. The DRDO has a development centre dedicated to UAVs on this site. However, no details on the origin of this drone, its capabilities or its role have been provided by the local authorities. A few hours after the crash, the wreckage was removed, leaving only a few photos taken by stunned witnesses as evidence of its existence. However, the operational nature of this mission is questionable, as the fluorescent orange and yellow livery is hardly compatible with the rules of visual discretion imposed on military platforms, especially when they are dedicated to reconnaissance missions that are discreet by nature...
The Naxalite guerrilla
Active since 1967 and considered as one of the oldest insurgencies in the world, the Maoist-influenced Naxalite rebellion operates in India in more than 60 districts, mostly in the east of the country. Although it is gradually being curbed by the Indian government, the rebellion is nevertheless considered the greatest threat to internal security today, far ahead of Islamist terrorism. The rebels' demands include a better distribution of land in a country where agriculture is the largest provider of employment. Despite colossal resources, prisoner exchanges and several peace agreements, successive governments have never managed to contain the unrest, only to reduce its intensity.
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