India is considering using drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-UAV) on its frontier with Bangladesh, a top official in India’s home ministry said on Monday.
“UAVs are being used along the Western Sector to stop infiltration from across the border with Pakistan. Similarly, UAVs can also be used for monitoring of infiltration in the Eastern Sector,” India’s Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi told bdnews24.com.
Mehrishi’s statement assumes significance as New Delhi until recently was in no mood to fly drones along its eastern frontier because India enjoys cordial relations with Bangladesh.
Security agencies of both the countries also keep discussing measures to contain trans-border crimes.
But now India appears to be worried over frequent movement of terrorists who flee Bangladesh during heavy police action and infiltrate into India.
Analysts say this may also be stunt to appease public opinion in states like Assam, which goes to polls soon and where illegal migration from Bangladesh is an issue that the ruling BJP is seeking to use.
“The Government is working on regulations for the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for civil and military purposes,” said Mehrishi.
There have been some recent reports that terrorist groups in the East are acquiring drones to carry out terror attacks.
Mehrishi was participating at the Federation of India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Summit on India’s Internal Security and UAVs when bdnews24.com spoke to him.
“This (drones) can be a good way to protect borders and maintain law and order in the country,” said Mehrishi.
Government sources say the home ministry has identified about 1,138 km of the India-Bangladesh border as vulnerable to illegal migration and trans-border movement of terrorists.
“The UAVs could be a better option to vigil those areas,” said a government official.
Even as the Union Home Ministry has completed fencing of at least 2787.35 km porous border with Bangladesh in I and II phase, 1138.44 km area are yet to be fenced.
India and Bangladesh shares a border over 4,096 kms .
Earlier this year, India introduced Russian made helicopters to guard the country’s frontiers with Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The Mi – 17 V5 helicopters were inducted to bolster the air support missions for BSF troops along India’s borders and in the hinterland during operations against left wing extremists.
The helicopters are armed with the latest in avionics and night flying capabilities, both of which were longstanding BSF requirement.
BSF Air Wing has a fleet of four Fixed Wing (FW) aircraft (Embraer-01, Avro- 02 and SKA B-200- 01) and 13 helicopters operating under aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
These helicopters are operating from BSF Air bases established at Ranchi, Raipur, Agartala, Srinagar and Safdarjung Airport in New Delhi.