Dead falcon sparks spying fears on Pak-India border

Published: April 15, 2013

The carcass was discovered near the ancient fort city of Jaisalmer in the far west of the desert state of Rajasthan. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS

JAIPUR: Indian security forces have found a dead falcon fitted with a small camera which has sparked alarm near the country’s highly militarised border with Pakistan, an official said Monday.

The carcass was discovered near the ancient fort city of Jaisalmer in the far west of the desert state of Rajasthan where the Indian armed forces regularly conduct drills and war games.

“It was fitted with some device and an antenna,” a senior Border Security Force officer stationed in the state told AFP by telephone on condition of anonymity.

Members of the Border Security Force (BSF) inspect the site where a dead falcon fitted with a small camera was found. PHOTO: AFP

Suspicions were initially that the bird might have been used for military spying, but the camera did not appear very sophisticated and it might instead have been the work of Pakistani hunters, the official said.

“However, the possibility of it being an espionage attempt from Pakistan cannot be ruled out at this stage,” he said, adding that an investigation was being carried out.

 

Members of the Border Security Force (BSF) inspect the site where a dead falcon fitted with a small camera was found. PHOTO: AFP

Other cross-border animal cases

This is not the first case of such cross-border animal intrigue.

2011 saw the capture of a cross-border trespasser – a monkey, found wandering in Cholistan, all the way from India. As soon as the monkey entered the Cholistan area of Bahawalpur district, locals tried to capture it but failed as the monkey dodged past them. Local residents then informed the wildlife officials, who after some struggle, managed to capture the strayed monkey.

In 2010, Indian police held a pigeon under armed guard after it was caught on an “alleged spying mission” for Pakistan.

The bird was found by a local resident in India’s Punjab state, which borders Pakistan, and was taken to a police station 40 kilometres from the capital Amritsar.

Local officers in Punjab state, which lies to the north of Rajasthan, said the white bird had a ring around its foot and a Pakistani phone number and address stamped on its body in red ink.

Reader Comments (34)

  • Common Man
    Apr 15, 2013 - 3:07PM

    Indians have lost it completely :) lolllz

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  • Pro
    Apr 15, 2013 - 3:25PM

    Ridiculous, isn’t it?.

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  • Apr 15, 2013 - 4:11PM

    Great way to freak people out:

    Find a broken camera phone
    Take out camera
    Attach it to bird flying south (towards intended victim)
    ???
    Profit

    :)

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  • Fedup Pakistani
    Apr 15, 2013 - 4:11PM

    @Common Man:
    Just like Pakistan lost it in 2011….

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  • Fedup Pakistani
    Apr 15, 2013 - 4:14PM

    @Pro:
    Y is it ridiculous….agreed that the animal itself would not carry a camera or antenna…but here we are talking about the human who are not trust worthy anymore…..and its not about trust either….its about spying and who gets caught and who doesnt…

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  • has
    Apr 15, 2013 - 4:22PM

    A pigeon under armed guard, lol what a scene that would be!

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  • Fail
    Apr 15, 2013 - 4:40PM

    Dear Express Tribune, the monkey that crossed into Pakistan was not considered a spy. Just because india commits such absurdities does not mean you have to find equal examples in Pakistan just to make your indian readers happy.

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  • Stranger
    Apr 15, 2013 - 5:17PM

    Please give some credit to the security of both the countries.Its not ridiculous. Its a matter of concern. If its a joke then the person needs to be punished for trying to fool the security.

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  • Apr 15, 2013 - 5:51PM

    The comments indicate that the people of Pakistan live in a high voltage propaganda state and what the out side world tells them they fail to comprehend. Sad they live in perpetual state of denial.

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  • Salman Ahmed
    Apr 15, 2013 - 6:08PM

    Hope that they don’t find out about the spying ants …

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  • Mohammad
    Apr 15, 2013 - 6:12PM

    here.. if this is true.. it is complete failure of Indian intelligence showing dominance of Pakistan Military Intelligence.

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  • Rick Van Holden
    Apr 15, 2013 - 6:20PM

    Did the pigeon belong to MQM or PML-N?

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  • Saurav
    Apr 15, 2013 - 6:20PM

    Did they try to convert the monkey aswell on national television?

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  • Rex Minor
    Apr 15, 2013 - 6:20PM

    @Stranger:

    How come you are the only one who had the sense to consider the alternaives for concerns. The entire region of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan is apparently transpaent to CIA operators who are stationed in the USA. Very simple, on the pretext of wild animal protection foreign individuals have entered Pakistan military controlled border areas, with the permission of the military and accompanied by a military officer, got hold of the wild big cats, punched in a mini device(camera) and let them loose.
    The entire border is under the surveillance now 24 hours with the help of this device and without physical pesence and could be used to direct DRONES bombing or any other military operations. I have watched the operation on tagging the cats in the chitral are on the German TV. A Pakistani military officer in civilian clothes, possibly an intelligence officer, accompanied the foreign operators.

    Rex Minor

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Apr 15, 2013 - 7:01PM

    @Saurav:

    “Did they try to convert the monkey aswell on national television?”

    You do not convert your own kind.

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  • Ahsan
    Apr 15, 2013 - 7:16PM

    Falcons used by UAE hunters in areas of Cholistan (Pakistani part of Rajasthan) mostly have GPS Trackers and other gadgets attached to them. This is just to track the falcon once it takes flight to catch the prey.
    How stupid of them if they are thinking it was Pakistani spy!

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  • Stranger
    Apr 15, 2013 - 7:17PM

    @Rex Minor :Apparently they found the number and details of some Pakistani address written on the claws of this bird. Surely Pakistani intelligence or security forces are not so silly as to write their own details on this bird. They know it will get traced back to them. I think some third party has done this to create mischief.

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  • Ilmana Fasih
    Apr 15, 2013 - 7:34PM

    Haha this is our version of UAVs…..However with the given details, this is unlikely to have been used for spying if 1. The camera was not sophisticated, 2. the bird was ringed with phone , address of Pakistan.

    This is most likely a falcon, that is used by the local Feudals, or even Sheikhs from UAE etc who have palaces here in Bahawalpur, where they come for bird hunting and falcon is used to detect the bird to be preyed, and also to pick up and bring the bird that has been shot down.
    far.

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  • Grow Up!!
    Apr 15, 2013 - 7:43PM

    the white bird had a ring around its foot and a Pakistani phone number and address stamped on its body in red ink.

    If the pigeon was meant to spy, then why on earth was there a phone number stamped on it.

    Did it belong to a private spying agency that wanted to advertise their company as well. ;) haha

    India has one solution to their problems, ‘Pakistan did it!’ LOL

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  • jg
    Apr 15, 2013 - 7:48PM

    @Fedup Pakistani:
    why are u afraid of identifying urself as indian. changing names doesnot hide ur identity, INDIAN.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Apr 15, 2013 - 8:29PM

    @Ilmana Fasih:

    “Haha this is our version of UAVs…..However with the given details, this is unlikely to have been used for spying if 1. The camera was not sophisticated, 2. the bird was ringed with phone , address of Pakistan.

    This is most likely a falcon, that is used by the local Feudals, or even Sheikhs from UAE etc who have palaces here in Bahawalpur, where they come for bird hunting and falcon is used to detect the bird to be preyed, and also to pick up and bring the bird that has been shot down.
    far. “

    I like your explanation. You could be correct.

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  • Jatin
    Apr 15, 2013 - 8:36PM

    There is no mention of such incident in any indian news sites and it is the main news here. You decide who has lost it?

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  • Talha rizvi
    Apr 15, 2013 - 8:54PM

    @Yoghurt lover:
    The only one who’s acting like a sneaking,irritating monkey is you,Perchance your yoghurt has expired or is laced with cocaine.
    @ Saurav
    Was the Falcon made to confess to terrorism? OR Did the Indians burn effigies of the Falcon.
    @VinodYour comments show who is being fed on Propoganda.Dude Get a life.

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  • Sexton Blake
    Apr 15, 2013 - 9:12PM

    Why is that Intelligence Agencies everywhere behave like low functioning people? Add this to politicians and military personnel who behave the same way and perhaps this is why the world is in such a mess. I suppose that India could make the Indian/Pakistan situation really complex by finding a volcanic rock, soaking it in chemicals, putting a Karachi phone number on it and then dumping it on the India side of the border. Then Pakistan really would be the bad guys from an Indian point-of-view for using chemical weapons. I have even better childish suggestions, but will leave them for another day.

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  • cautiouslyobservingneighbors
    Apr 15, 2013 - 10:45PM

    I like the elite Indian counter espionage team doing high tech crime scene investigation.
    by using a high-tech utensil (twig from the bushes) to probe the robotic spy (dead falcon).

    Looks like they sent in their best for this mission…

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  • cautiouslyobservingneighbors
    Apr 15, 2013 - 10:45PM

    the monkey was preceeded by a pigeon.

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  • Faraz
    Apr 15, 2013 - 10:48PM

    Dude!! We have got google earth..Why to use low grade camera on a falcon then?

    The Indians have completely lost it..

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  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Apr 16, 2013 - 12:10AM

    @Ahsan: I was hoping someone would come up such a plausible theory. Anyone who has lived in the Mid East and who knows the Arabian fondness towards falcons will see that these Arabs are so much ‘into’ the sport that they’re adding technology to old time traditions.
    As an Indian I’ll debunk all other theories and stick to this one.
    Well said and well put, Ahsan.

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  • Naveen
    Apr 16, 2013 - 2:34AM

    @Ahsan:
    Thankyou for what seems like a realistic explanation of the incident.

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  • Raj Kafir
    Apr 16, 2013 - 5:22AM

    Every Pakistani should read this link.
    http://www.thebetterindia.com/4946/tbi-travel-the-bird-man-of-kheechan/
    After reading the link you will realize how the migratory are treated in India.
    Please read. Thank you, Raj

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  • Kulwant Singh
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:18AM

    @Mohammad:
    Agreed Pakistan Military dominates it dominated in 1965 and 1971 and 1999 also

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  • Enlightened
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:22AM

    A recent news item says that Pakistan is ahead of India in research field. I am sure that the survey team who came to this conclusion must have been impressed with innovative technology employed for espionage by Pakistan against India. However, thanks to ET for publishing such news items which is the best means to keep the people of two countries in good humour.

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  • Gp65
    Apr 17, 2013 - 11:21AM

    Has India lost it or is Pakistan just being creative and making stuff up? I find this news item reported prominently in Pakistani media but do not see Indian media reporting it?

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  • Bismil
    Apr 18, 2013 - 7:15PM

    I can see many naive comments here who are ‘LOL’ing here.
    Perhaps they do not know what all tactics are employed in military espionage world. Ever since ancient times to WW-1,2 & even in Iraq, Afganistan today; animals & birds are used for surveillance purposes.

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