New border fences in works, BSF pushes for tech to disable drones

Deeptiman Tiwary
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Sources said that in view of threats, it was necessary that all measures are taken to plug loopholes at the border.

Amid the heightened threat of infiltration from Pakistan following the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, the BSF is acquiring state-of-the-art fences that cannot be cut. BSF sources said there are intelligence inputs about Pakistan preparing Afghan militants to push them into India after the snow melts.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs is working on acquiring technology to disable drones. “There are inputs that at various launch pads across the border, terrorists who have fought in Afghanistan or are of Afghan origin are waiting to cross over to Kashmir,” a senior BSF officer said.

Sources said that in view of such a threat, it was necessary that all measures are taken to plug loopholes at the border. “The border fences we use can be easily cut. It is not possible to man the whole border without technical assistance. The new fences we are getting are like a mesh. Two wires do not have enough space between them for wire cutters to be used,” the officer said.


The new threat amid cross-border tension

Drones are often used by both India and Pakistan for conducting surveillance across the border. But of late, Pakistan has started sending load-carrying drones that carry arms, ammunition and drugs. Punjab police recently caught hold of a cache of arms dropped by drones from Pakistan at Kahangarh in Punjab. It is against this backdrop that BSF is pushing for technology to disable drones.

Under a pilot project, new fences have been set up at the Indo-Pak border in Amritsar and the Indo-Bangladesh border in Silchar, Assam. Sources said the cost of erecting such a fence would be around Rs 2 crore per km. “Barring the riverine patches, we want it across over 3,000 km of our borders. Some of our fences are so old that one can simply break through them,” an officer said.

Besides this, the BSF is pushing the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to get the latest technology to disable drones. “Surveillance drone flights are very frequent. But load-carrying drones are a grave threat. In fact, that’s the future of warfare. The assassination of Iranian Major General Qasim Suleimani in Iraq by a US drone strike is an instance,” an officer said.

Sources said the country currently doesn’t have proper standard operating procedure for dealing with foreign drones or detailed guidelines for operation of domestic drones. “Some forces have bought drone disabling technology, but they are area-specific. We want a wall across our border that can cut radio frequency and disable GPS — the two key technologies guiding most drones these days,” the officer said.

He said that presently, the only option forces have is to shoot down drones, but it was difficult as it would require the drone to be within the range of sniper fire.

Sources said work was on in full swing to get the required technology and innovations from both India and foreign countries were being tested.