Indian Air Force base in Kashmir hit by explosions

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Authorities have launched an investigation after an air force base in Jammu city in Indian-administered Kashmir was hit by two “low-intensity” explosions, possibly from a drone.

“Investigations are in progress along with civil agencies,” the Indian Air Force tweeted on Sunday, adding one blast caused minor damage to the roof of a building at the station, while the other exploded in an open area.

“There was no damage to any equipment,” it said.

The explosions in the early hours of Sunday between 1:30am and 2am local time injured two people and caused minor damage to a building, the officials told Reuters.

They added that the blasts, which occurred barely 14km from the de facto border with Pakistan, have caused concern in security circles as they could mark the first time that drones have been used in an attack in India.

Later a crude bomb was found in another location, Dilbagh Singh, the police chief in Indian-administered Kashmir, which is officially called Jammu and Kashmir, told NDTV news channel.

He blamed armed groups in Kashmir, who want the Himalayan region either to be independent or merged with neighbouring Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan claim the Muslim-majority region in entirety but control only parts of it.

Armed rebellion

New Delhi has stationed more than half a million forces in the region – making it one of the most militarised zones in the world – as it tried to quell an armed rebellion that erupted in the late 1980s.

India has accused Pakistan of backing armed rebels – a charge Islamabad has denied. The region has been a flashpoint since the two nations gained independence from British rule in 1947. They have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.

The United Nations and rights groups have criticised New Delhi for human rights abuses in Kashmir.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told pro-India Kashmiri leaders that elections would be held there once constituencies in the region have been reconfigured following the revocation two years ago of the region’s semi-autonomous statehood. The region is currently run directly from New Delhi.

A top government official in New Delhi said Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to review the security situation and that the latest blasts are being probed.

Separately, a senior security officer told Reuters news agency that the suspected use of drones in the attack, if established, would present a significant challenge for security forces in the area.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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