Srinagar: After failing to send infiltrators into Jammu and Kashmir due to heightened vigil along the Line of Control (LoC), Pakistan is using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to drop weapons and narcotics into Indian territory.

Data collected by the various security agencies have revealed that there has been a threefold increase in drone sighting incidents along the India-Pakistan border.

Of 492 UAVs or drones observed on the India-Pakistan border from January 1, 2020, to December 23, 2022, 311 were sighted this year. In 2021, 104 drones were sighted and 77 were seen in 2020.

The UAVs have emerged as a major source of smuggling arms and ammunition, as well as drugs into India. The drones were sighted in different areas in Punjab and were within a range of 2-10 km of the International Border.

Border Security Force (BSF) personnel shot down over 22 such drones and seized nearly 45 kg of heroin and a cache of arms and ammunition, including seven grenades, two magazines, 60 ammunition, and other firearms.

In June 2021, two explosions rocked the high-security technical area of Indian Air Force (IAF) Station Jammu. Low-flying drones were used to drop two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

It was the first drone attack on any defence establishment in the country. One blast caused minor damage to the roof of a building while the other exploded in an open area. There was no damage to any equipment.

After the drone attack on the Jammu Air Force Station, the security agencies went into a huddle and the anti-drone technology was put in place around the sensitive locations within no time.

As of date, all the important security installations have been provided with the latest equipment to counter any misadventure by Pakistan and the terrorist handlers operating from the neighbouring country.

In 2022, the Border Security Force shot down 16 drones as the anti-drone system and in-depth patrolling to tackle the menace helped the force to neutralize the threat posed by the UAVs.

The anti-drone systems that have been installed at some specific locations along the India-Pakistan border and Line of Control (LoC) are also coming in handy in detecting and neutralising the drone threat. More such systems are being put in place to defeat the machinations of the terror bosses sitting across the border.

The BSF has also started three-four km of in-depth patrolling so that the person trying to pick up the items dropped by these drones can be caught.

Soldiers who shoot down these drones are being provided with special incentives. The steps that have been taken to counter drone terrorism are proving effective to thwart the nefarious designs of the terrorists.

Women BSF personnel shot down a Hexacopter drone weighing nearly 18 kgs at Chaharpur village in Amritsar Punjab while it was entering Indian territory from Pakistan. The drone was carrying 3.110 kg of narcotics.

Several cases have been reported where drones coming from Pakistan side dropped consignments of drugs, guns and money in J-K and Punjab.

In November this year, Jammu and Kashmir Police recovered a consignment of weapons and Indian currency that were dropped by a Pakistani drone in Jammu's Samba district.

The recoveries included one steel Improvised Explosive Device (IED), two pistols, 4 magazines, several batteries, and a watch. Police also recovered around Rs 5 lakh cash from the package. The movement of a drone was spotted in the Vijayapur area, which lies opposite the Sialkot-Pakistan border.

Pakistan Army and other agencies are facilitating the entry of UAVs into Indian territory. Promoting terrorism through UAVs is allegedly a nefarious ploy of the deep state in the neighbouring country and the terrorist bosses.

Security agencies are analysing the chips of the drones that were shot down in the recent past. Analyzing the chips would help experts are ascertain the details of the routes taken by the drones and their flying zone, as well as their origin.

The Army has deployed trained kites to prey on enemy drones. They are pressed into service along with trained dogs for military operations.

Such capability can help the security forces tackle the menace of drones coming from across the border. The dog alerts soldiers after hearing the sound of a drone while the kites help locate the enemy drone.

A new technology is also being used to detect these drones. Police in frontier states like Punjab and J&K are being roped in to track the local contacts of the terrorists, who collect the consignments and act as conduits.

Drone terrorism is emerging as yet another challenge for the security forces as Pakistan-sponsored terrorists are using the machines to prolong the 32-year-long proxy war, which till the abrogation of J-K's special status on August 5, 2019, was fought through militants, who were provided arms training and were pushed into Jammu and Kashmir.

However, during the past three years, the situation has changed. The government has broken the back of terrorism by blocking its Hawala funding channels and by setting up a robust counter-infiltration grid along the Line of Control and the International Border. The steps that have been taken have pushed the terrorists, their handlers and supporters on the back foot.

Alert soldiers along the LoC are not allowing the terrorists to sneak into J-K, while the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and State Investigation Agency (SIA) are ensuring that terror sympathisers and supporters are identified and taken to task.

Terror sponsors have realised that they can no longer fight the proxy war through humans and are, hence, using drones as their best bet.

However, in 2022, security forces shot down many UAVs and surveillance has been heightened.

The adversary is not being provided with any opportunity to push terror into the Valley again.