Monday, January 28, 2019

Delhi cops gear up to combat drone threats

New Delhi: There have been multiple intelligence inputs, issued almost routinely, about the possibility of terrorists using drones to carry out attacks in the Capital. But this time, the danger seems "clear and present".

It all began with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) learning, from terror communication intercepts, that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used to attack people, dignitaries and vital installations.

"Conversations via WhatsApp, emails, Facebook and Telegram have pointed towards plans of aerial attacks in the city. They also mention details of recently purchased drones from the online market," said an official.

The MHA passed it on to Delhi Police that issued high alert and deployed sleuths in Delhi's strategic locations to thwart any possible terror attack from the skies.

"To prevent any untoward incident in the city, the use of flying objects like drones has been restricted by the police," said Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma. Republic Day celebrations passed off peacefully. But the threat is "too potent and complex" for such a measure to be effective in the long run.

The Union civil aviation ministry is learnt to have met companies that can provide an effective antiunmanned aircraft system (UAS) to detect and tackle drones.

The ministry is expected to hand over the technology to security agencies in the next couple of months. This will follow training to capture drones mid-flight and block their communication systems. Terror groups such as Islamic State have used drones to carry out attacks by dropping grenades or crashing into infrastructure. There have been drone attacks in countries such as the US, Venezuela, Saudi Arabian, France and Japan.
28/01/19 Chaanika Nigam/India Today