Amritsar, November 28
Though, an anti-drone system has been installed in majority of areas near Indian-Pakistan border to intercept unmanned aerial vehicles, the unabated aerial intrusions have seen a significant rise during this year.
Started in 2019, drones have become a major headache for the Border Security Force (BSF) besides leaving security and intelligence agencies baffled. The Punjab Police in past over a year busted a number of terrorist-gangster modules, which were using drones for pumping in narcotics, arms and ammunition into Indian side from Pakistan for carrying out their nefarious activities and disturbing peaceful atmosphere in the border state.
According to sources in the BSF, though anti-drone system was installed in several parts of the border, yet it was still in experimental phase and its efficacy was yet to be ascertained.
They said the 553 km-long international border in Punjab had witnessed maximum intrusions.
Nearly 200 intrusions have been recorded by the BSF since January this year while it was around 45 and 65 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The BSF has shot down at least 12 drones during the period, five in past two months only.
Nevertheless, sources pointed out that the number of intrusions were much more than that as indicated by incessant seizures of contraband, arms and ammunition by the Punjab Police.
A BSF official said Pakistan based anti-national elements, including terrorist groups supported by Pak-based intelligence agencies, were using high end Chinese drones to smuggle in contraband, arms and ammunition. Sometimes they were assembled and capable of lifting heavy payload, he said.
The Punjab Police had also confiscated explosives, including IEDs, AK 47s and pistols, which were believed to be smuggled with the help of drones. Eight sophisticated pistols smuggled by drones were seized on November 27.
The Punjab Governor, Banwari Lal Purohit, visited border villages twice. He highlighted the issue and asked people to form citizen vigilance defence committees in border villages to nail those involved in the cross-border smuggling of narcotics and arms. In order to counter the problem, the BSF also started preparing list of suspicious elements active in border villages and pass it to the Punjab Police for taking further action after thorough probe and verifying their antecedents.
The BSF personnel also began to sensitise border residents and encouraged them to share information with them about drones flying in their areas besides movement of unknown miscreants.
The government has also empowered the BSF by extending its jurisdiction in view of frequent intrusions from sky. However, the IG, BSF (Punjab Frontier), Asif Jalal, said, “The government has installed anti-drone mechanism in majority of areas in Punjab. It helps the BSF in detecting movement of drones.” “The Ministry of Home Affairs have provided us with the anti-drone technology and majority of times we are able to shoot these down,” he said.
Drones shot down by border force this year
On November 26 A drone was shot down at Daoke border village in the Attari subdivision
On November 9 A drone was shot down at Gandu Kilcha village in the Ferozepur area
On October 17 BSF shot down another drone near Chhana border village. It was quadcopter (DJI Matrice) while suspected 2.5-kg narcotics was also seized
On October 16 A drone gunned down by the BSF near Rania border outpost. A 2-kg drug consignment was also recovered
On October 13 A drone shot down near the Shahpur border outpost
On May 8 The BSF gunned down a drone and recovered 10-kg heroin
On April 29 The BSF shot a China made black quadcopter (Drone) at Maude village in Amritsar
On March 9 The BSF recovered a drone in Havelian village of Tarn Taran district
On March 7 The BSF gunned down a drone and recovered 4-kg heroin in the Ferozepur sector