Drug drones

Smugglers’ hi-tech push has national ramifications

Drug drones

The arrest of drug couriers who used drones as drug mules on the Indo-Pak border near Amritsar is both a cause for concern and satisfaction. The police should be commended for busting the gang. Yet, the operation itself, as well as the sophisticated means used to courier drugs that allowed the smugglers to bypass many security barriers, is worrying. The Punjab Police have recently been quite active in ferreting out criminals dealing in illegal drugs. However, action against the big fish is awaited.

For too long, there has been a tendency to blame Pakistan for the drug trade. The demand for drugs is domestic, and thus while it may be convenient to blame the neighbour, there is a need for a deeper look within too. These drones are being used by Indian smugglers who fly them across the border to fetch the contraband. So, the police need to nab the local smugglers who have caught up with hi-tech drone technology before they turn more lethal using better technology. Efforts should also be made to provide proper treatment and care to drug addicts. Only a multi-pronged approach, along with a concerted campaign by the police to find and apprehend the drug smugglers, will help achieve long-term results.

The misuse of drones has raised security concerns across the world, and the government of India too is seized of the matter. Indeed, after an all-out ban on drones was found impractical, a new policy to license drones came into effect from December 1, 2018. It has been rightly criticised for being too bureaucratic. However, the need for effective control of drones has been driven home time and again. Governments worldwide are struggling with means to govern the proliferation of drones, and thus prevent their misuse. The Punjab Police deserve credit for intercepting the gang, but this is not a local issue. It has serious national ramifications, which the Centre should appreciate.

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