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India Claims Downing of Unmanned Pakistani Spy Plane - 2002-01-06

India says it has shot at an unmanned Pakistani spy plane that intruded into its airspace. Pakistani military officials have denied the report. The incident comes as a huge military standoff continues between the two countries.

Indian defense officials say the Pakistani plane flew eight kilometers into the southern Kashmiri border district of Poonch on Sunday afternoon. The officials say an Indian army helicopter fired at the plane, but were not aware whether it had crashed or gone back into Pakistan. They says soldiers are scouring the mountains to see if there is any debris.

Eyewitnesses say the incident caused panic among the local residents and sparked a heavy exchange of artillery fire between Indian and Pakistani troops.

Tensions have escalated on the India-Pakistan border where there has been a huge military build up by both countries following an attack on India's parliament last month.

There have been almost daily exchanges of gun and mortar fire between troops on the two sides, raising fears of an armed confrontation between the two countries.