Police in India nab a pigeon, suspect fowl play from Pakistan

A pigeon with a wired object around its neck was turned in to police in India for suspected spying.

Story highlights

  • The bird is found on a home, with an illegible Urdu message on its wings and carrying a wired object
  • Residents of the Pathankot district of Indian Punjab turn it over to police
  • So far, police have found nothing improper about the detained pigeon

New Delhi (CNN)James Bond just might have an unusual competitor.

This suspected secret agent is a flying ace -- a pigeon that perched on a home in an Indian village Thursday, barely 2½ miles (4 kilometers) from the border with Pakistan.
An illegible Urdu message stamped on its wings and a small wired object around it were enough for residents of the Pathankot district of Indian Punjab to turn it over to police.
    "We are looking at this case only from that angle," said Rakesh Kaushal, Pathankot's police chief, when asked whether officers were investigating the bird for possible Pakistani espionage.
    Suspected spy pigeon has markings on its wings.
    "It's the first instance of its kind in my area. It's a sensitive border here," he told CNN on the phone from Pathankot.
    So far, police have found nothing improper about the detained pigeon. They say it was X-rayed, but nothing related to spying was found in its body.
    Investigators have not been able to decipher the Urdu part of the message written on its wings. "It's very dim," Kaushal said.
    Police are also investigating numerals printed on the bird. "They are neither landline nor mobile phone numbers, which were initially suspected. But we are investigating further," the police chief said.
    Hindu-majority but officially secular India and Islamic Pakistan share a long history of hostilities since independence from British rule in 1947. They have fought four wars, three over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim as their own.
    A military Line of Control divides the disputed region between them, and both sides admit to what they call a trust deficit. Talks to normalize relations haven't yielded a breakthrough over most of their outstanding issues, including Kashmir.
    Ties turned sour again this year when a top leader of the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, was released on bail in Rawalpindi. Lakhvi was charged in Pakistan in 2009, accused of masterminding the November 2008 terror attacks that killed more than 160 people in Mumbai, India's financial capital.