To expand the tentacles of its cross-border terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan-based terror outfits have been using unmanned aerial vehicles and drones to transport weapons, narcotics, explosives and drugs in India.
The task of guarding the 3,323 km long border between India and Pakistan is designated to The Border Security Force (BSF), a paramilitary force of the Republic of India.
According to a recent report, there has been a threefold increase in drone sighting incidents along the India-Pakistan border. In 2021, the count was 104 and has now reached the figure of 311 in 2022.
According to the data collected by BSF, drone sighting incidents have quadrupled as compared to 2020, when 77 drones were used to smuggle arms, ammunition and drugs into India.
The BSF personnel have shot down 22 such drones and nearly seized 45kg of heroin along with a large cache of arms that included seven grenades, two magazines, and sixty rounds of ammunition.
Considering the total number of drones that crossed the border, 369 were observed in Punjab, 75 in Jammu, 40 in Rajasthan and 8 in the western Indian State of Gujarat. In Punjab, 164 drones were observed in Amritsar, 84 in Ferozepur, 96 in Gurdaspur, and 25 in Abohar.
Concerning the Jammu Frontier, 35 drones were found in Indreashwar Nagar, 29 in Jammu and 11 in Sunderbhani. In the state of Rajasthan, 32 drones were found in Sri Ganganagar, 7 in Barmer, three in Bikaner and northern Jaisalmer. Two were reported in Southern Jaisalmer and one in Bhuj.
The data further revealed that 206 drones were observed between July 1 and December 23 in 2022. The largest number was recorded in the month of August with 45 drones. 44 in September, 38 on October, 36 in November and 24 in December. The least number of unmanned vehicles was seen in the month of July.
The drone menace across the border was brought to Union Minister Amit Shah’s notice in an October security review meeting with security and intelligence chiefs in attendance. A large number of drones which were seized included various assault rifles (AK-series), MP4 Carbines, high-explosive grenades and narcotics.
According to BSF Intelligence and Jammu and Kashmir police, many drones also include narcotics such as Afghan Heroin which can be used for financing terror operations in the valley.
The Home Ministry of India is learnt to have directed all agencies concerned to find solutions to drone activities across the border. Security personnel and Law enforcement agencies have been asked to keep a close and special watch on such movements.