Jammu attack: Security agencies fight lack of anti-drone tech

Chandigarh/Amritsar: Though Punjab Police have escalated vigil on border areas after the dropping of two explosives from the lethal remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the Jammu Air Force Station on the night of June 26, the lack of specific anti-drone technology makes it humanly impossible to stop such Pakistan-launched drone intrusion into Indian territory.
There had been many instances in the past where drones had swiftly returned back to Pakistan after dropping drugs, fake currency, arms and ammunition in Punjab’s border areas and just a few of them were gunned down by the vigilant officials of the Border Security Force (BSF).
The police had in November last year also finalised the standard operating procedure (SOP) to handle the looming threat of Pakistan-backed drones. But even after that, a drone launched from Pakistan dropped 11 hand grenades on the night of December 19 last year in Gurdarspur district’s Salach village, nearly 1km from the Indo-Pak international border, and returned back. BSF as well as the Punjab police had claimed to have spotted the drone in the night sky and fired multiple shots at it.
This happens since most of the drones or UAVs are not detected by radars and they are operated generally during the nights.
SSP of one of the border districts of Punjab told TOI, “These drones have become a big challenge for the security agencies and till the suitable anti-drone technology is available, we have to deal with these lethal UAVs through strict vigil round the clock.”
DGP: Pinpoint drone movement areas
Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta held a meeting with senior officers of the police and BSF in Amritsar to discuss challenges posed by drone movements from across the border.
The state police chief asked the officers to use the last two years’ data to pinpoint areas which are conducive to drone movements. The DGP also suggested installing infrared CCTV cameras on the road network in border villages and asked the police officers to list out the possible camera points in the vulnerable areas or roads. The meeting was attended by ADGP internal security RN Dhoke, ADGP STF B Chandrashekhar, IG border range S P S Parmar, commissioner of police Amritsar S S Gill, SSP Amritsar (rural) Gulneet Singh Khurana and SSP Tarn Taran Dhruman Nimbale, besides IG BSF Mahipal Yadav, DIGs of different BSF sectors.
The DGP also asked commissioner of police Amritsar and SSPs of border districts to launch a crackdown on drug smugglers and identify hotspots infamous for drugs smuggling. He also emphasised on the arrest of proclaimed offenders and bail jumpers in NDPS cases
.BSF needs to have anti-drone tech: Ex-DIG
J S Saran, former deputy inspector general, BSF, said, “BSF does have anti-drone technology. And considering the threat factor, the force should acquire the same at the earliest.”
Talking to TOI on Monday, Saran said cross-border militants, who enjoy the backing of ISI, were capable of acquiring and flying drones which could be used as a distraction also. “They could send a drone to divert the attention of BSF and help militants infiltrate into India from some other place,” he said.
A senior BSF official who didn’t wish to be named said they were using the best of the technology available with them.
Following Pathankot Air Force Station terrorist attack in 2016, BSF had reportedly raised demand for modern radars and other surveillance equipment with the government, but according to sources, only a fraction of their demands had been fulfilled.
“In the past, we had demanded certain surveillance equipment to upgrade ourselves in wake of growing cross-border threats,” the sources added.
Past use of drones
Sept 2019 | A consignments of arms, ammunition, explosives and fake Indian currency notes were smuggled into the Indian territory via drones originating from across the border in Pakistan
Dec 2020 | Police recovered 11 Austrian grenades which were also airdropped in Salach village near Dorangala town of Gurdaspur district. Police had recovered an AK-47 rifle and ammunition from a field in Wazirpur village which was also believed to be airdropped by drones originating from Pak soil
June 14, 2021 | BSF had spotted a Pakistani drone flying close to the international border near Amritsar

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