The border district of Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir banned operation of drones and low flying objects in its territory with immediate effect on Wednesday following the Sunday attack on military installation in Jammu using drones, believed to be operated from across the boundary with Pakistan.
Following the order, issued by Rajouri deputy magistrate RK Shavan, the government agencies using drones for mapping, surveys and surveillance will have to first inform the local police station incharge and executive magistrate, the order said.
On Sunday, two explosive payloads were dropped on an Indian Air Force station in Jammu within 6 minutes of each other by unidentified drones, injuring two security personnel and damaging a building. Another such attack was thwarted within 24 hours by alert security forces that opened fire on unidentified drones hovering over Kaluchak military base in Jammu. Several such sightings have taken place since then over military bases in the region.
Experts have said that this is the first time that drones are being used in an attack on a major defence installation in the country. There have been several incidents of Pakistan-based terrorists using drones in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir to drop arms, ammunition, drugs, and money to fuel terrorism in the region. But experts said Sunday’s attack represented a new security threat.
The use of a small drone to carry out attacks is counted by security analysts as a watershed in asymmetric warfare in India. But it has been used elsewhere, by Islamic State fighters for one, to target forces in Iraq and Syria for years that prompted the United States and drone manufacturers to spend millions of dollars on research to stop what are sometimes called, the “killer bees”.
Initial investigations into Sunday’s attack have pointed to the role of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the drone strike at a Jammu air force station.
Following the development, armed forces and military installations at forward bases have been alerted and asked to maintain full vigil to counter this new threat.