An intelligence report that 100 Pakistanis packed in four boats were attempting to infiltrate in the creek area, sent the alarm bells ringing on June 10. An Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV|)was sent over the area. But it was only the next morning that the first Border Security Force (BSF) party could launch operations to search for the reported infiltrators.
“An operation that continued for the next four days confirmed it was a false alarm. But it was a reminder just how dependent we are on nature due to lack of infrastructure,” said a BSF officer at the Koteshwar camp at India’s western tip.
The water was not just turbulent for the speed boats, there was also a real risk of getting stuck in the salt marsh enroute to Sir Creek. That is, if the BSF commandos were able to board the boats from the make-shift jetty at Koteshwar without damage to the boat.
Some of this could change over the next few months.
The BSF is set to acquire four Fast Attack Crafts (FAC) and a dozen more All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) to let the force patrol in the 4,000 sq km of the Rann area, a mix of salt marsh and estuaries linked to the Arabian Sea.
The water jet propelled ATCs can easily operate in shallow water, have sensors to help the vessel stay in the water channels, a bullet-resistant body and a remote weapon firing system.
“The FACs would help overcome the mobility of the force in the creek area which is restricted by low tides,” AK Sinha, inspector general of the BSF’s Gujarat Frontier said, hopeful of receiving the 4 crafts, worth Rs 6.5 crore each by year end.