Baluchistan: The Pakistani army is using Chinese-origin combat CH-4B drones to crush the rebellion in Baluchistan.

While the Pakistani Army has used fighter jets and armed helicopters against Baloch rebels for several years, the use of combat UAVs is new and is continuously increasing.

Earlier this month, Pakistan allegedly conducted a massive military offensive against Baloch rebels in the Bolan region by deploying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter jets, and Gunship helicopters, along with SSG Commandos, according to Baluchistan Post-English.

According to reports, the Pakistani Army deployed jets against Baloch nationalists in the highlands of Bolan in Baluchistan.

The Pakistani military operations were resisted by the Baloch militias, which, in turn, killed two SSG Commandos, however, the use of combat UAVs is new and is continuously increasing. The Baluchistan Post-English tweeted that China and Turkey have supplied various models of combat UAVs to Pakistan.

According to the information on the microblogging site Twitter and Pakistan-based defence blogs, Chinese CH-4B UAVs were spotted over Bolan, Baluchistan, where the rebels killed two SSG Commandos.

Pakistan received five Cai Hong 4 (Rainbow-4, or CH-4) multirole medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAVs from China in January 2021. At the time, it was not revealed which variant of the CH-4 drone was acquired by Islamabad.

However, later reports suggested it was the CH-4B variant.

A Chinese PLA detachment based in Pasni, Gwadar, allegedly helps the Pakistani military operate these CH-4 drones. The Pakistan military has a naval air station at Pasni known as PNS Makran.

The Pakistani military is accused by the people of Baluchistan of the excesses committed against them and has intensified its armed assault in recent times.

According to a recent report of The Balochistan Post, the Human Rights Council of Balochistan received 41 cases of enforced disappearance and thirty cases of extrajudicial executions in Balochistan during October 2022.

China is developing the Port of Gwadar under the China-Pakistan Economic Agreement (CPEC), a premise for deploying PLA troops in the region.

China pursues a "strategic strongpoint" concept, whereby its military can use strategically located foreign ports with terminals and commercial zones run by Chinese companies.

This makes it plausible that the PLA detachment would assist the Pakistani troops in operating the CH-4B.

Pakistan's use of combat drones against Baloch insurgents is yet another example of militaries turning to drones for combat after watching the deployment of UAVs in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The conflict has led to a proliferation of drones. Pakistan is slated to receive Bayraktar Akinci and TB2 drones from its ally Turkey.

Pakistan's CH-4 drones were spotted at a Pakistani airbase close to India's border in August 2021. Satellite imagery shared by an open-source intelligence showed four CH-4 combat drones at the Bahawalpur airbase in Pakistan's Punjab province.