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Cross Border Drones From Pak Rangers Outposts

Context

The Amritsar sector of the Border Security Force (BSF) has seen the most cases of international border violations by drones originating in Pakistan in the last year. This was revealed by data obtained from Indian security agencies by a leading news outlet.

Relevance

GS Paper 3: Internal Security

Mains Question

What exactly are suicide drones? What changes are they making to traditional warfare? (150 words)


Threat to Internal Security

  • Background: In June 2021, the Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Jammu was attacked with two low-intensity improvised explosive devices (IEDs) (IEDs).
    • These IEDs were delivered by two drones.
      • It was the first time suspected Pakistan-based terrorists used unmanned aerial vehicles in an attack, and the attacks re-ignited a debate about drones as a threat to internal security.

Internal security risk

  • Weapons transfer to terrorists – Drones can transport arms and ammunition across international borders.
    • In December 2019, Punjab police unmasked a terror network that was using drones to transport arms and ammunition from Pakistan across the international border.
  • Drone attack on critical infrastructure
    • In September 2019, a swarm of drones attacked Saudi Arabia’s largest oil field.
    • This demonstrates a drone’s ability to carry out pinpointed attacks on a nation’s critical infrastructure.
  • Intelligence gathering o Drones have demonstrated their utility in intelligence gathering and surveillance.
    • If we closely examine the pattern of drone detection along the Indo-Pakistan border, we can conclude that drones are widely used to gather information.
  • Aids Organized Crime
    • The use of drones, particularly by drug cartels, is not a new tactic.
    • Recently, the BSF recovered a drone from a bordering village in Fazilka (Punjab) that contained two packets of heroin weighing approximately 1.6 kg.
  • Threat to counter-terrorism operations
    • Police and security forces, trained in traditional counter-terrorism methods, are at a loss when confronted with unmanned aerial vehicles.

Why is it difficult to deal with a drone?

  • Conventional radar systems are incapable of detecting small flying objects. If these radars are calibrated to detect drones, they may misidentify a bird as a drone.
  • Currently, border forces in India rely heavily on sight to detect and shoot down drones.
    • Shooting these drones is difficult because they fly at high altitudes that are difficult to target.
  • High energy beam technology has also been tested in order to disable their navigation, interfere with their radio frequency, or simply fry their circuits.
    • None of these, however, have proven to be foolproof.

Anti-drone technology developed in India

  • India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has made some investments in anti-drone technologies such as the ADITYA Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) and laser dazzles.
  • The DRDO’s Counter-Drone System was deployed for VIP protection at:
    • the Republic Day parades in 2020 and 2021; and o former US President Donald Trump’s visit to Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
  • Hyderabad-based technology R&D firm Grene Robotics has designed and developed India’s first indigenous drone defence dome called Indrajaal.

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