Thursday, February 07, 2019

Beyond sea and land, India’s next defence challenge is drone terrorism

It is a matter of time before terrorists use drones to launch attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, the northeast, the Red Corridor and the hinterland  of the country.  India is virtually defenceless against drone terrorism and is doing little to gear up despite warning signals from across the world.

Two unusual attacks in recent months, carried out by commercial off-the-shelf drones laden with explosives, did not get much attention from the Indian media and the security establishment.

On 4 August 2018, the President of Venezuela, Nicolãs Maduro, was allegedly targeted during a military ceremony in Caracas when two low-flying drones exploded, causing the soldiers in the military parade to flee and leading to a stampede-like situation. At least half a dozen National Guard soldiers were injured in the attack.

The second such attack took place 10 January 2019 when an explosives-laden drone, allegedly flown by Houthi rebels, flew into a military parade in Yemen killing at least six soldiers.
Globally, an estimated 100 drone sightings are reported by pilots of manned aircraft every month. Drones are now reportedly being used by the ISIS, Hezbollah, Houthis and militant groups in Ukraine extensively.

Terrorists are known to wage an asymmetric war and are quick to exploit emerging technologies – drones now add a new dimension to terrorism.

Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) drones are small, cheap and easy to conceal. Military drones are heavier and expensive but can be made available to the terrorists by the sponsoring states. DIY manuals are available on the Internet and so are the drone components.
07/02/19 Lt Gen HS Pang/Print