Tuesday, June 29, 2021

More than 300 drone sightings reported along Pakistan border since August 2019: Agencies

New Delhi: Over 300 drones and unidentified flying objects have been sighted along the sensitive border with Pakistan post the 2019 abrogation of Article 370, central security agencies have said, even as they grapple to find a suitable technology to check these lethal sky-floaters.

A multitude of border security agencies have also been testing some indigenously-built counter-drone technologies in the rough jungle terrains, desert and marshes along the western front but have had little success till date, officials told PTI Monday.

The lead security agency -- the Border Security Force (BSF) -- and the frontier units of various police units along the 3,323-km-long front have since adopted a standard operating procedure of 'sight and blight' in case a drone, an unidentified flying object or a remotely-operated aerial vehicle is spotted in the air.

"The existing system to kill an enemy drone is that the security guard has to be vigilant on the ground and the sky and as soon as a drone is sighted, it has to be blighted or neutralised by plain shooting from the service weapon like INSAS rifles," a senior officer explained.

Data prepared and shared by the central security agencies with the government said over 300 "definite sightings" were made by the BSF and other police units after August 5, 2019, when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 was withdrawn and it was bifurcated into two Union Territories of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh.

There were 167 sightings of drones along the western front (largely Jammu and Punjab) in 2019, 77 last year and about 60 this year till now, as per the data.

"These are minimum or to say the confirmed sightings by BSF troops and other security agencies personnel along the India-Pakistan border," a senior officer in the security establishment said.

There could be 50-60 more such sightings which are not included in the data for reasons like capturing only the whirring sound of the drone, difficulty to differentiate between a balloon and a drone and un-specified suspicious flying objects, the officer said.

28/06/21 PTI/Deccan Herald

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