Drone sightings around defence, space installations trigger alarm
The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation regulator, issued a notification in October, 2014 prohibiting the use of drones without permission.Updated: Jan 29, 2018 07:03 IST
At least a dozen drone sightings near sensitive installations have prompted the ministry of home affairs (MHA) to write to various government departments to take precautionary measures against a possible aerial threat from “unknown flying objects”, officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
The MHA has sent letters to the departments of defence, petroleum and natural gas, energy, and space, along with various states and union territories, to conduct mock drills and come with a coordinated real-time action plan against unidentified flying objects (UFO), said a ministry official, who asked not to be identified.
According to the official communication, sent with the subject line “steps to prevent instances of unknown flying objects over vital installations”, sightings of drone-like objects flying near government installations had been going up over the last two years. Parts of the advisory note sent by MHA’s Internal Security Division has been seen by HT.
In one instance, a drone-like object was noticed flying near Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) propulsion centre in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu, in August 2017, the letter says. Several liquid, cryogenic and semi-cryogenic stage tests, and engine-related tests of ISRO’s launch vehicles and satellites are carried out at this centre.
“During field enquiries, the origin of flying object could not be traced/located… In light of prevailing security scenario, there is a need for prompt and coordinated action amongst all security agencies with respect to vital installations of Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gas and Ministry of Power so as to deal with such threats on a real time basis,” says the letter.
“Joint mock drills may be conducted by all stakeholders at regular intervals for effective coordinated action in emergent situation,” it adds.
The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation regulator, issued a notification in October, 2014 prohibiting the use of drones without permission. Last year, it said that a first policy on the issue was in works, and the aviation minister hinted at a system of licences that could legally allow people to fly drones, but the regulation is yet to be rolled out.
For the time being, the ban on flying drones is additionally enforced by local police that defines particular areas as strict no-go zones, such as the entire New Delhi area that was notified by the Delhi Police.
First Published: Jan 29, 2018 07:02 IST