Top army officer says state help from across border possible for drone attack
Indian Army’s 15 Corps Commander hinted on Wednesday at the possibility of Pakistan aided terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish –e- Mohammed being responsible for the drone attack on a Jammu Air Force base considering the technology involved.
“We are well aware that these assets and tech [for] drone warfare, for example, cannot just be made on the roadside. These indicate state-supported systems and technology… and state supported, or state sponsored, technology definitely indicates Jaish and Lashkar,” Lieutenant general DP Pandey, Corps Commander of the 15 Corps in Srinagar, told NDTV in an interview.
On Sunday, two air force personnel were injured and a building was damaged when suspected drones dropped two explosive payloads on the high security air force station in Jammu. The case is now being investigated by multiple agencies including the National Investigation Agency (NIA). 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 (IS) fighters.
Soon after the attack, a high alert was issued around Srinagar airport and major army installations and security camps in forward areas.
The corps commander said the investigations into the attack are going on and an initial analysis of data indicated “a certain level of guidance from state actors”.
“The capability or capacity exists to modify drones, which are locally available as well… with a certain level of guidance from state actors, they can be modified to carry out these attacks.”
Terrorists organisations based in Pakistan have been using drones to drop off arms, ammunition and money in bordering areas to help militants carry out attacks. Analysis of one such captured drone had revealed that it had been assembled using parts made by different manufacturers for deniability.
“The next level in this is greater deniability – an attempt to say this is possibly internal,” he said.
The army officer said that the drone threat was likely to keep on increasing. “We are aware and have taken advanced measures over the past few days to re-orient ourselves. As a unit, the army is looking for proactive solutions and I am very confident that we can take care of this challenge as well,” he said.