World News

Drone technology has being used by Pakistan to escalate its proxy conflict with India. The infiltration of guns and drugs into the states of Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir is the present emphasis of this activity.

As a result, there is no longer any need to carry out this operation using humans, which is against India’s national interests.

The rising use of drones by terrorist organisations and smuggling networks on India’s western front has presented new challenges for India. The Indian narrative of the ongoing proxy war being fought by Islamabad is only strengthened by the fact that this action is being sponsored by the deep state in Pakistan.

Drones have without a doubt fundamentally altered the way that combat is fought. A number of governments, including those in the West led by the United States, as well as Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan, have drones and have employed them for kinetic operations, and their rapid proliferation poses a new threat to global security.

Other nations also keep armed drones in their arsenals, including China and India.

The drones from Turkey that Azerbaijan employed were the ones that had an impact on the battleground in its struggle with Armenia.

Recent large-scale Iranian drone shipments to Russia have provided the Russian Army a tactical tool to use in the proxy war being waged with Ukraine. With non-state players like Yemen’s Houthi rebels organising significant drone assaults on Saudi Arabian and UAE oil sites, the use of drones in combat has become a global phenomenon.

Armed drones have also been used in significant wars, including the continuing Ukraine conflict, the Armenia-Azerbaijan dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region in 2020, and the conflict in western Libya between 2019 and 2020.

Drones are easily acquired and used by both state and non-state actors because to their low cost and relatively basic technology. Using contemporary radar and air-defence systems, they are challenging to detect due to their small size and technological attributes. Drones also enable long-range precision strikes, lessening close conflict on the battlefield and minimising casualties.

Pakistan has quickly added drones to its arsenal. It is the fourth nation in the world to have successfully used drones in an operational setting. During an operation in North Waziristan’s Shawal Valley in 2015, the Pakistani military asserted that it had killed three Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists using its indigenous Burraq combat drone.

More recently, in 2022, Pakistan Army used drones to attack TTP cadres in the Afghan districts of Khost and Kunar. Pakistan also imports military drones from China and Turkey in addition to the Burraq, Falco, and GIDS Shahpur models that are domestically produced.

These include the Chinese individuals Caihong (CH) 4 and Wing Loong, as well as the Turks Bayraktar Akinci. Drones being flown into India by Pakistan offer real-time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance as well as the ability to carry a variety of payloads, making them an invaluable asset for both the Pakistani military and its non-state actors.

Mini and micro-drones are becoming more and more accessible, which has sped up their spread, including among rogue non-state and proxy actors.

On June 27, 2021, Pakistan launched a huge drone attack against Jammu Air Force Station in India. The airbase was targeted by low-flying drones that dropped two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) within 14 kilometres from the Pakistani-Indian border.

Drones have been used by terrorist organisations based in Pakistan and supported by the Pakistani Army to transfer weapons and ammunition. This was shown in the Jammu attack in June 2021 when two IEDs were dropped in the technical sector of the Jammu Air Force Station using drones.

The technical skill needed to alter the drones to deliver a specific payload, despite the fact that drones and their components are readily accessible commercially off-the-shelf, indicates the involvement of the Pakistani military. Therefore, it becomes sense to conclude that Pakistan has something to gain from fusing terrorism and crime because doing so expands India’s threat landscape.

Along the international border and the Line of Control (LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir, drone sightings have grown. More than 268 drone sightings were reported by the Border Security Force (BSF) in 2022 compared to 109 in 2021 and 49 in 2020.

This pattern demonstrates unequivocally that drones are Pakistan’s new strategic weapon in its proxy conflict with India. The goal is to exploit technology to fuel tensions within India while also supplying guns and drugs to terrorists on our side of the border. In both kinetic and non-kinetic tasks, drones are deployed.

The latter is strongly felt over the border in Punjab, where narcoterrorism has increased. Drones coming from Pakistan and carrying drugs and weapons are now routinely intercepted and occasionally shot down.

It was stated that drones were utilised to drop weapons and money on the militants who carried out the Poonch terror attack on April 20, 2023. In four separate instances along the International Border in Punjab on May 21, 2023, the BSF reportedly intercepted four Pakistani drones and destroyed three of them.

Notably, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan has been aiding organised crime groups in their efforts to smuggle drugs into India. According to statistics, just 5% of completed narcotics items are transported illegally into India over land. However, it allows them to make huge profits because the product’s price skyrockets once it enters Punjab, India.

For instance, one kilogramme of heroin costs roughly USD 6,000 in Pakistan, whereas it costs USD 120,811 in India. In locations like New Delhi or Mumbai, the consignment’s commercial worth can reach USD 604,043.

Analysts had predicted that drug gangs based in Pakistan might use drones on the India-Pakistan border in 2018, following a similar trend to the US-Mexico border. But in August 2019, the first known drone delivery of weapons and ammo occurred.

Since then, the threat has only increased. The BSF claims that from 2021 to 2022 alone, the number of drones delivering weapons, ammunition, and drugs across the border more than doubled. An examination of the drones used in these smuggling operations reveals that the majority of the machines were purchased commercially and assembled and modified by the sabotage elements.

Many of these drones feature chips, just as smartphones and laptops. In some instances, criminal organisations constructed the drones using locally obtainable parts to create custom-built drones.

According to prior experience, some regions along the India-Pakistan border have long been used as routes for the smuggling of illegal drugs, fake Indian rupees, weapons, and other contraband. In order to smuggle contraband into India, criminal networks have used a variety of strategies throughout these corridors, which have shown to be durable. These include utilising locals as couriers and getting the illegal substance over or under the border.

In places where populations have crossed the border, pipes have been used to smuggle contraband by creating cavities inside farm equipment and vehicles, which are permitted to cross the fence for agricultural purposes.

With a more than four-fold rise in cross-border drone activity between 2020 and 2022, Punjab is the most active of the three Indian border states and one UT with Pakistan.

267 drones discovered in Punjab in 2022 made up 83% of all drone activities reported along the Pakistan-India border; these drones are discovered, not necessarily intercepted.

Punjab has developed into a centre for smuggling, with entrance sites at border crossings like Fazilka, Firozpur, Tarn Taran, Pathankot, Gurdaspur, and Amritsar.

The states of Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir are currently under threat. Security forces have also seen that terrorist organisations and smuggling networks have turned their attention to Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir as a result of the increased usage of counter-drone technologies and resources in Punjab.

Recent reports of increased drone sightings include Gurdaspur, which borders Jammu, and Abhor, which borders Rajasthan.

Relevantly, the physical evidence of Chinese technology, gear, and weapons being utilised for narco-terrorism and related terrorist acts is provided by the recoveries of drones operated by Pakistan that were launched into Indian territory. The Chinese company SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd, Shenzhen, more popularly known as DJI, provides a sizeable share of the drones that Pakistan utilises for cross-border operations.

Two DJI Matrix 300 RTK drones built in China were among the five drones that were shot down in Punjab in May 2023. The US government added DJI to a list of goods with prohibited commerce in December 2020. These drones’ batteries are made by a business in Karachi, Pakistan, which is also where the company is headquartered. The majority of remote-controlled drones run on frequencies between 900 MHz and 5.8 GHz, with 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz being the most popular.

Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities are also present in many of these, enabling users to operate the drone from a distance. The drone can carry out a number of tasks via NFC, including broadcasting video and capturing images.

Users may access the drone and its data safely with the help of NFC, which can also offer secure authentication and authorisation. The Global Positioning System is used by drones to fly independently and navigate precisely.

Some drones may also be fitted with a multi-constellation Global Navigation Satellite System, which integrates signals from various satellite constellations for improved precision, for applications that demand enhanced accuracy. Drones used for criminal and terrorist activity on the India-Pakistan border will continue to pose a concern.

Pakistan has purchased Chinese CH-4B drones as part of investments made in expanding its domestic drone capability. Drone deployment in environments like hilly and maritime zones would be made possible when drone technology improves in terms of endurance and range, as is currently evident in the sighting of drones in Jammu and Kashmir UT.

Swarming drone technology may also change the game. Another serious danger comes from loitering devices, which can remain in the air for long periods of time.

The cost-effectiveness of their delivery will play a big role in how widely criminal and terrorist elements use drones in various environments and situations.

Related Posts