Drones pose risks to India’s current security system

by dr. Gyan Pathak

Within 10 days of India celebrating two days of Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022 on May 27-28, the technical analysis of the drone seized by Indian security forces has revealed an alarming trend of increasing security threat to the country: drones are being used in smuggling drugs and weapons from neighboring countries into India. Although the present case, which has already been reported in the media, concerns Pakistan-backed terrorist activities, India needs to be extra vigilant throughout its border as a number of terrorists and anti-national and criminal groups are said to be active who can smuggle contraband in order to to destabilize our country.

The lab that technically analyzed the flight path of the drones seized by the Border Security Force and Punjab Police has found that drones originated from India, flew to Pakistan, loaded with drugs and weapons and flew back to India. It shows that Pakistan-based terrorist organizations are penetrating deeper into India, not only through the border regions of Jammu and Kashmir, but also into Punjab. It is a matter of serious concern not only from the point of view of Islamic terrorism, but also because of fears of a resurgence of Khalistani terrorism in Punjab.

Indian security forces and the Punjab Police have made some arrests and registered cases, but the threat cannot be addressed with the current drone policy and measures. India needs more concrete steps and measures to stop the misuse of the drones. Most of the drones were found from the villages of Amritsar and Taran Taran in Punjab and sent to Pakistan. According to sources, Indian operators subsequently stopped working. Operators in Pakistan then loaded guns, drugs and weapons onto the drones and shipped them back to India. It goes without saying that there are far more security risks than these incidents have revealed.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022 in New Delhi on May 27, we had no idea of ​​such misuse of drones that could endanger Indian security. During the festival, PM Modi also flew a drone made by Asteria Aerospace Limited, a Bengaluru-based drone technology company, which is intended to be used for security and surveillance in all industrial sectors. During the two-day drone festival, more than 70 exhibitors showed various use cases of drones. PM Modi even interacted with drone pilots from Kisan and enjoyed drone demonstrations. He called the Kisan drones a game-changer in Indian agriculture. “Agriculture is undergoing a revolution,” he said. Drones will also be important to improve care delivery on the last mile. Even during COVID, drones helped deliver vaccines to the most remote corners of the country, he added. More than 1,600 delegates, comprising government officials, foreign diplomats, armed forces, central armed police forces, state-owned enterprises, private companies and drone startups, took part in the festival.

The reasons for Prime Minister Modi’s over-enthusiasm is not difficult to understand. It was none other than himself who intervened last year to get liberal rules for drones in the country, claiming that it was to leverage India’s strengths in innovation, technology and engineering to turn India into a drone-powered operation. to make hubs. That romantic idea immediately captured the imagination of the dreamers inside and outside the government, including Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who began propagating that the move would soon pave the way for air taxis in the Indian skies.

However, in pursuing the romance of the drone, the government may have forgotten to thoroughly discuss the inherent dangers that endanger Indian security, which has been revealed by the technical analysis of the seized drones now. It was not that the government or our security forces were unaware of the risks, they simply ignored them to fulfill the dreams of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At that time, August 2021, the decision to get the new deregulated drone rules 2021 was considered hasty and inherent dangers were ignored.

Just months ago, in March 2021, India’s drone policy was changed following a terrorist incident in Jammu and Kashmir involving a drone. After that, several incidents were reported until July 29, when suspicious drones were spotted in three different places in the Jammu Division, and the drones were shot down about 8 km inside the international border with Pakistan. Police also recovered 5kg of improvised explosive device (IED), which police sources said would be assembled and used by terrorists. Even just two days before the 2021 drone policy was passed with the rules announced on Aug. 26, intelligence sources were reported to have been quoted as saying that terrorists were planning back-to-back drone strikes.

Central intelligence services had also intercepted such conversations from terrorists. There were also other reported threats, such as to the environment from air pollution from fossil fuels that the drones may use, as well as the risks of accidents due to air traffic violations. It was after the intervention of the PMO that the Ministry of Aviation quashed the rule it had introduced a few months ago in March 2021. At the time, the chief scientific adviser to the government of the Union, K Vijay Raghavan, had said that the current new policy has been put in place under close supervision, directly by the Prime Minister, with trust in users as the basis and to promote the economic well-being of the people. to ensure.

The logic of ‘trust in users’ is now proving dangerous to India’s security, as no remote pilot license is required for non-commercial micro-drones and nano-drones. The liberal licensing and lower maximum penalty for rule-breaking have inherent risks that can be abused by antisocial, criminal or terrorist elements.

Even on June 7, BSF forces were forced to fire short along the India-Pakistan border in Jammu district after hearing a buzzing noise that led to suspicion of a flying drone. The sound came from a height of about 800 meters. A senior, unnamed BSF officer says there is a drone threat all along the India-Pakistan border, but security forces are on the lookout to thwart any nefarious design from across the border in the region. (IPA service)

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