Pak drones dropping weapons into Punjab highlights the need for drone-disabling tech

Pakistani drones breaching Indian airspace is already a big matter of concern

By Namrata Biji Ahuja on September 25, 2019
Pakistani Drone Shot Down
Pakistani drone shot down by Indian Air Force using air to air missile on Rajasthan border (OPINDIA STAFF)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to take over the investigation into the case of Pakistan ISI using drones to send weapons across the border into Punjab. The Punjab police claimed that nearly 80kg of weapons were sent across the border by Pakistan-based Khalistani terror groups as part of a sinister plot to target Jammu and Kashmir.

After Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that the state government was requesting the NIA to probe the matter, government sources said that the case is likely to be handed over to the central anti-terror agency. The NIA has joined the investigation, but once the Union home ministry formally hands over the case, all the evidence and recoveries made by the Punjab police will be handed over.

Pakistani drones breaching Indian airspace is already a matter of grave concern for central security agencies. The Punjab chief minister has said that Home Minister Amit Shah should urgently look into the matter. Sources in the central intelligence agencies said that the home ministry has long been toying with the idea of deploying drone-disabling technology, especially at high-risk airports; but, this project has not seen the light of the day. Along the international borders, the border guarding forces possess such technology.

The US has anti-UAV defence systems that scan the airspace for unmanned drones and disable them using radio beams. The Israelis have mastered this technology, sources said, and at least two Israeli companies were identified some months ago to provide Indian agencies drone-disabling technology. Field tests had been conducted for the purpose, but no decision was taken and the issue remained unaddressed.

Drone sightings at borders are common and central intelligence agencies have time and again received inputs of Pakistan-sponsored terror groups like the LeT training their cadres to use drone technology to carry out terror attacks. “Besides drones, parachute droppings of men and arms cannot be ruled out in the near future,” said an official.

“Counter-terror officials said security agencies must prepare to counter these new-age threats where physical forms of infiltration are being replaced by technology to carry out maximum damage with least amount of risk and loss,” said an intelligence official.

The handling of this security concern, however, isn’t limited to the ministry of home affairs. The bureau of civil aviation and security, the Indian Air Force, the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), and other stakeholders are involved in tackling such threats. The government had already set up a high-powered committee led by the BCAS, which included members from the Airport Authority of India, National Security Guards and NTRO, besides representatives of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the ministries of home and civil aviation to examine the drone terror.

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