Drone challenge: Lacking effective counter-technology has Pak UAVs put BSF on tenterhooks
Around 110 incidents of drone flying along the Punjab border have been reported this year. Recently, sound of a drone was noticed in the Dera Baba Nanak area of Gurdaspur district.
According to a senior BSF official, around 110 incidents of drone flying along the Punjab border have been reported this year.
The movement of drones being used by Pakistan-based anti-national elements for the smuggling of drugs, arms and explosives into the Indian territory, has been giving a tough time to the border security force (BSF) guarding the Punjab frontier.
According to a senior BSF official, approximately 110 incidents of drone flying along the border have been reported this year. However, due to the absence of an ‘effective anti-drone technology’, only six drones were shot down while the others were managed to retreat, either after the smuggling or reconnaissance, he said.
During the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, a buzzing sound of a drone was noticed in the Dera Baba Nanak area of Gurdaspur district. The drone reportedly remained inside the Indian territory for at least five minutes before going back.
BSF’s Gurdaspur deputy inspector general (DIG) Prabhakar Joshi said the personnel on duty opened 44 rounds, besides launching two illumination bombs—used for lightening the sky. However, it managed to retreat. On Tuesday morning, a massive search operation was launched by the BSF with the help of the local police and sniffer dogs, but nothing suspicious was found, the DIG said.
BSF sources said it was 22nd drone movement noticed in the Gurdaspur sector during this year. “Until there is no effective anti-drone technology, the possibility of shooting down drones is very less. We have been running a trial of an anti-drone technology for the last around one year, but this technology, which works at a particular frequency, has not been found effective so far,” said a senior BSF official, who didn’t wish to be named.
He said, “This year, BSF has seized around six drones from the Punjab border, but we can’t attribute that the seizures was purely on the basis of the trial based anti-drone technology. Most of them were shot down by our jawans. Pakistan based smugglers are very shrewd, who have been working in collusion with the country’s intelligence agency (ISI) and China. Most of the drones being used by Pakistani smugglers are being assembled. They are not using the drones made by companies, which have some fixed frequencies. The possibility of these assembled drones, which fly at varying frequencies, being detected in our anti-drone technology is very less. We need an effective anti-drone technology to tackle the treat.”
He further said, “Most of the drones try to sneak into our territory for the smuggling during the night period. Presently, our forces are relied on the buzzing sound of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).“
The BSF official further said, “There is also a dire need of increased coordination between the BSF and Punjab Police. The Pakistani smugglers fix a particular location for dropping of their consignments in the drones on the basis of their GPS system. More man power is required to at least properly guard around 8 km area inside the Indian territory from the international border.”
A senior police official, who didn’t wish to be named, said, “We have installed our naka points at most of the vulnerable points leading to the border to keep strict watch on the movements of suspects. However, sometimes, the drones drop consignments to some secluded places in collusion with some people living in border villages. It is impossible to keep watch at such a large area 24x7.”
Noticing the “increase” movements of drones along the border, Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit has conducted two visits in the border areas of Punjab in the last two months. The governor has also stressed on increasing the coordination among various security agencies, including encouraging the people of the border villages to support BSF and police.
This year, Punjab Police have busted several modules linked to various foreign terror organisations. The recovery of improvised explosive devices from the members of these modules had also pointed that drones were being used to smuggle the explosive from across the border.
Approximate incidents of drone movements sector wise:
Some recent incidents of drone seizures by BSF:
On May 8: BSF personnel had gunned down a drone which entered India from Pak side and recovered 10 kg heroin.
On April 29: BSF had shot down a China made black quadcopter (drone), model DJI Matrice- 300 at Maude village in Amritsar.
On March 9: BSF recovered a drone which was being used for smuggling of drugs and arms in Havelian village of Tarn Taran district.
On March7: BSF shot down a Pakistani drone and recovered 4 kg heroin in the Ferozepur sector.