bsf: drones across the Pakistani border more than doubled in 2022 : BSF DG

Instances of drones bringing drugs, arms and ammunition along the borders of Punjab and Jammu from all over Pakistan have more than doubled in 2022 and the BSF is seeking a foolproof solution to control this threat, the director said on Saturday. General of the Force, Pankaj Kumar Singh. The BSF chief said the force had recently established a state-of-the-art lab at a camp in Delhi to study drone forensics and the results were very encouraging.

Security agencies could track the flight path and even the address of criminals involved in this cross-border illegal activity that has been surging in recent years, he said.

Singh said the force had been “bombarded” by the onslaught of drone flights across the Pakistani border on the western front.

“The BSF has been a target of the drone threat for some time…the versatility of the drone, which is well known, causes us problems with nefarious elements having found new uses for the drone due to its anonymity and its fast flight at a sufficient height around borders,” he said.

The DG said this when briefing Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla who was chairing an event to inaugurate the forensic laboratory through a webinar session.

Quantifying the enormity of the drone threat, the DG said that while the BSF detected around 79 drone flights along the Indo-Pakistan international border in 2020, it rose to 109 last year and “has more than doubled to 266 this year”.

“The main culprit areas are Punjab, which has seen 215 thefts this year… in Jammu, about 22 thefts have been seen,” Singh said.

“The problem is serious. We don’t have a foolproof solution at the moment. They (the drones) brought narcotics, weapons and ammunition, counterfeit money and all kinds of things,” he said. he declares.

The DG said that initially the BSF struggled with the challenge of not knowing what to do and even when the drone went down they had “no idea” where it came from or was going.

“We then started to get into the forensic part. We realized that these drones had chips similar to computing devices like computers and cell phones. As digital forensics helps solve cybercrimes, we also got answers here,” Singh said.

The BSF, responsible for protecting more than 3,000 km of the Indo-Pakistan international border crossing Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu, first established a drone repair laboratory in Delhi in September this year. last, then enhanced it in October to analyze the forensics of drones shot down or recovered by it, the Punjab Police and the Narcotics Control Bureau.

He spent around Rs 50 lakh to establish this forensic laboratory and deployed a select workforce of tech-savvy officers and staff to operate it.

“We found (after forensic analysis of the drones) their flight paths, launch and landing points, timings, GPS (global positioning system) coordinates and even the messages they exchanged and we realized there was a wealth of information, if we could get into this topic we could find addresses, locations of suspects and much more,” Singh said.

He said the force had developed “good coordination” with the Punjab police on the issue, which also provided the BSF with 200 personnel to carry out “deep patrols” on the frontline to check for drones and their droppings.

Citing a success story, where drone drops happened in the Havelia region of Punjab in March, the DG said a joint investigation and action by the two security agencies led to the arrest of 8 people , six of whom were convicted of drug trafficking.

The DG said the force had now launched a new system of incentives and cash rewards for its border teams who shoot down drones.

“Eleven drones have been shot down (by us) this year and we give very nice rewards to the teams that shoot them down. There is a very good enthusiasm in these teams,” he said.

The BSF chief said the force was now undertaking a two-pronged approach to controlling this threat.

“We undertake deep patrols so that people cannot come to the border to pick up drone droppings. We dig deep into drone forensics to extract information about its senders and recipients,” he said. declared.

The problem is “so acute” and, “what we know from interrogation (of suspects and apprehends) that wherever our drone teams are deployed…deep patrols or anti-drone equipment are installed , the criminals go elsewhere to undertake the illegal activity,” the DG said.

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