Attack of the drones: Security agencies gear up for new terror threat from across the border

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A security personnel patrols outside Jammu Air Force Station after the drone blasts, in Jammu on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

S Gopal Puri
Jammu

A few days after the two low-intensity explosions at the Jammu Air Force station, Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday said that the security agencies have taken the recent attack seriously and are capable of tackling such threats.

While speaking to reporters, Sinha said, “Drones have been spotted in the past few months. Border Security Force (BSF) shot down one recently. Police thwarted such attempts. Security agencies have taken recent Jammu incident seriously. Security arrangements being made at all such establishments. Security agencies are capable of tackling this threat.” On Sunday, two low-intensity explosions were reported in Jammu Air Force station. One of the blasts caused minor damage to the roof of a building while the other exploded in an open area.

After the incident, sources had said that while investigating airbase attack that it was emerging as if the drones which were used to carry out the hit dropped the explosives and were moved out from the area by their handlers. However, any parts of the drones were not found in the area.

After the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) handed over the probe of the Jammu Air Force station attack case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and has reregistered an FIR under various sections.

According to a press release, the FIR has been registered under sections 3 and 4 of Explosive Substances Act, 1908, sections 13, 16, 18 and 23 of the UA (P) Act, 1967 and sections 307, 120B of IPC, 1860. The case relates to an explosion that occurred inside the premises of the Air Force Station, Satwari campus, Jammu on June 27 and a subsequent blast, after about 6 minutes carried out by drones in a well-planned conspiracy that led to the injury to two Air Force personnel and damaged the office buildings.

While NIA has been working with other agencies since immediately after the incident, pursuant to reregistration of the case, requisite actions as per law, for expeditious investigation of the case have been initiated.

Alert troops have successfully thwarted two drone activities near Ratnuchak-Kaluchak Military Station along Jammu-Pathankot national highway on the intervening night of June 27 to 28, said an Army official on Monday.

Jammu based Public Relation Officer, Ministry of Defence, Lt Col Devender Anand in an official statement said that on midnight of June 27-28, two separate drone activities were spotted over Ratnuchak- Kaluchak Military area by alert troops. “Immediately, high alert was sounded and Quick Reaction Teams engaged them with firing,” said the PRO.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed a New counter-drone system to detect and neutralize aerial threats, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

He asserted that both the drones flew away and a major threat thwarted by the alertness and proactive approach of troops. “The security forces are on high alert and the search operation is in progress,” he said. Meanwhile, police have ramped up security in Jammu as security personnel checked vehicles in the Kaluchak area. On Sunday, two drones carried out attacks at the Air Force Station in Jammu.

While no damage was caused to any aircraft in the blasts, two personnel suffered minor injuries, sources said. An investigation into the matter is in progress along with civil agencies, informed the Indian Air Force.

Stressing on the need to carry out evidence-based and pro-active policing, the Director-General of Police (DGP) Punjab Dinkar Gupta on Tuesday called for greater synergy between BSF and Punjab police to counter the increasing threat from drones.

Giving a call for total synergy and teamwork between BSF and Punjab Police, DGP Dinkar Gupta said that it was high time that both the elite forces should work as one team and activate the gathering of good old human intelligence by gathering and sharing real-time information. Further, he asked the BSF officials to share sector-wise inputs of movements of suspected persons with the Punjab Police so that they can keep a sharp vigil on their activities and ensure penal action against those found involved in any criminal activity.

According to a press release, he assured total support to the Border Security Force (BSF) to counter the Drone operations at Punjab borders, which have emerged as the new threat on the National Security horizon, which the drone operations has heavily dented the security provided by the border fencing. “It was in September 2019, that the use of drones for smuggling weapons was first established in Amritsar and since then, such flying machines AND delivery platforms are being used frequently for smuggling of drugs and weapons, and now, the terrorist attack in Jammu using a drone has become another major security concern,” said DGP Dinkar Gupta adding that more than 60 drone sightings have been reported by the BSF, Punjab Police and the people of the state over the last 20 months.

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