Security agencies tasked with protecting the Indo-Pakistan border areas, particularly in Punjab and J&K, will soon be equipped with indigenous anti-drone equipment developed by the United Nations Electronic and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE). Defense Research and Development (DRDO) to deal with drones, which are operated from Pakistan and drop weapons and mats on Indian territory.
Sources at the Ministry of Defense informed that the counter-drone system developed by DRDO was tested in the Punjab region in 2020 and has undergone extensive trials since then. This equipment has a laser weapon effective up to a range of 1,000 meters with other features including a radio frequency jammer and a GPS jammer/spoofer.
“Sufficient orders have been placed for this anti-drone equipment which will be supplied to border security stakeholders by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL),” said an official who did not wish to be named. Although the initial numbers may not be enough to meet the requirement, the usual
suspicious entry routes will be adequately covered. “The entire border cannot be covered, so counter-drone systems should be placed based on intelligence inputs, past behavior and expected future reaction,” another official said.
An intra-departmental task force is also working on aspects of anti-drone measures, particularly in Punjab and neighboring Jammu and Kashmir. The urgency in this regard arises not only from the frequent deliveries of arms, ammunition and drugs by drones discovered in Punjab, but also from the drone attack on Jammu Air Base in June 2021.
A report by the Parliamentary Home Affairs Standing Committee submitted last month noted that “Punjab has not drafted or formulated a separate police drone policy. However, area-specific detection and neutralization of drone threats is available and being improved. However, larger areas like borders remain a challenge. This is done through physical patrols and nakabandi by the police which are backed up by effective intelligence inputs”.
The report further states that the Punjab state government has informed the Committee that in recent times the movement of drones across the international border has increased significantly. Drones have been sighted more than 133 times near the international border in the past two years.
The first recorded delivery of arms/ammunition by drone took place in August 2019. “Similar drone sightings have also been seen in Jammu and Kashmir. Also, no effective anti-drone technology is available in the country. Many public and private sector companies are involved in the fight against drone technologies. In this regard, Punjab follows the policy notified by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Center,” the report noted.
Data available from security agencies shows that the majority of drone sightings took place in Punjab in 2021 compared to Jammu and Kashmir. The BSF reported 100 drone sightings along the international border in Punjab, Rajasthan and J&K in 2021 and of these 67 in Punjab, 24 in Jammu region, six in Rajasthan, two in Gujarat and one in the region of Kashmir.
In the absence of effective counter-drone technology, the BSF relied on firing on drones sighted along the border, but with little success in bringing them down. It is often claimed that drones return to Pakistani territory after being fired upon.
More than two years ago, the army tried to use anti-aircraft guns to shoot down drones crossing from Pakistan in areas under the army division of Ferozepur, but it was found that the radars air defense could not capture small objects.