Punjab had highest number of drone incidents, recovery of arms and narcotics along Indo-Pak border : The Tribune India

Punjab had highest number of drone incidents, recovery of arms and narcotics along Indo-Pak border

BSF officers say the use of drones by adversaries as well as criminals in the border belt has increased over the past two years

Punjab had highest number of drone incidents, recovery of arms and narcotics along Indo-Pak border

Photo for representation.



Tribune News Service

Vijay Mohan

Chandigarh, January 25

The international border in Punjab remains the most vulnerable stretch along the entire western front with Pakistan, with the highest number of drone sightings, apprehensions of intruders and recovery of arms as well as narcotics in the past year being reported in this sector.

Of the 100 odd drone sightings reported by the Border Security Force (BSF) in 2021, as many as 67 have been in Punjab Frontier, followed by 24 in Jammu Frontier and six in Rajasthan Frontier, according to BSF sources. Gujarat Frontier and Kashmir Frontier reported two and one sighting, respectively.

A senior BSF officer revealed that last year, there were 62 instances where enemy drones operating in the vicinity of the international border were fired upon by BSF personnel. These included 43 in the area of Punjab Frontier and 17 in Jammu Frontier, followed by two in Rajasthan Frontier.

BSF data also showed that there have been 58 incidents of hostile drones crossing over into Indian territory, out of which 45 were in Punjab alone. There have also been instances of shot down drones being recovered by the BSF.

BSF officers said the use of drones by adversaries as well as criminals in the border belt has increased over the past two years, posing new challenges.

Extensive use of drones is being made by adversaries for surveillance of border areas and intelligence gathering. Similarly, this technology is being used by criminals indulging in smuggling of drugs, arms and other contraband items from Pakistan into India. BSF has been devising various strategies to counter the threat from drones.

India, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, shares 3,323 kms of its land border with Pakistan along the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab as well as the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

While the BSF is responsible for the peace time management of the international border from the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat to Akhnoor in Jammu, some of its battalions are also co-deployed with the Army along the Line of Control up to Kargil in Kashmir and Ladakh sectors.

The length of the international border in Punjab is approximately 553 kms of international borders with Pakistan, comprising the districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tara Taran and Ferozepur.

While most of this border is fenced and flood-lit, riverine stretches along the course of the Ravi and Sutlej are vulnerable and difficult to guard. This came into focus during the recent terror attacks in Gurdaspur and Pathankot.

Among states sharing the international border with Pakistan, Punjab also topped in the number of arms being recovered. The BSF seized 54 weapons, including AK series rifles and pistols along with 3,322 rounds of ammunition in the area of responsibility of Punjab Frontier, followed by 17 weapons and 1,170 rounds in Jammu Frontier. No weapons were seized in Gujarat and Rajasthan frontiers.

As far as narcotics are concerned, BSF data shows that about 80 per cent of seizures along the western border in 2021 were in Punjab. Out of the total of 599.220 kgs of heroin seized, 485.165 kgs was in Punjab, followed by 57.670 kgs in Rajasthan and 37.935 kgs in Jammu.

Last year, the BSF apprehended 38 Pakistani nationals, including criminals and inadvertent crossers, out of which 28 were in Punjab. Four Pakistani nationals were apprehended in Rajasthan and three each in Jammu and Gujarat. In addition, six Pakistani intruders each were shot by the BSF in Punjab and Jammu, two in Rajasthan and one in Kashmir.

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