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At UN meeting, Indian industry body calls for framework to deal with cross-border drone intrusions

At a technical session of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee, Drone Federation of India said countries should be held accountable for the misuse of drones at international borders

September 20, 2022 / 12:00 PM IST
Representative image (Source: Twitter@ANI)

Representative image (Source: Twitter@ANI)

An industry body representing India at a UN meeting proposed the creation of an international framework for collaboration to address the misuse of drones across borders at a time when such intrusions are becoming more common in India.

Drone Federation of India (DFI) was a participant at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee's (CTC) technical session held last week. The CTC is a subsidiary body of the United Nations Security Council.

"One of the suggestions we made is that an interstate cooperation framework be developed because no longer can countries say that misuse of drones was done by an independent stakeholder, and that we have no role to play in it," Smit Shah, president of Drone Federation of India told Moneycontrol.

Shah stated that nation-states should be held accountable for drone intrusions across borders, regardless of whether they were perpetrated by terrorists or independent stakeholders, because the drones were launched from the foreign country's soil.

Shah explained that drones which are being used by non-state actors or terrorists are usually built from commercially available equipment.

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"Since these are commercially-available technologies, they are limited in capabilities. This means that to exploit such drones, one needs to be close to the border," he said.

"Because they are so close to the border, conventional intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies have to work with each other to deal with such threats."

"It should not just be the victim country who should take action but also the source country that needs to take action and be held accountable," Shah said.

DFI also discussed how unmanned aerial systems (UAS) were being misused, potential areas of misuse, and how to address these concerns.

This development comes at a time when drone intrusions at the Indo-Pak border have increased, according to a report based on data from the Border Security Force (BSF).

In 2021, the BSF recorded 97 drone sightings. The number has already risen to 107 in the first seven months of the year, with the majority of such intrusions occurring in Punjab, followed by Jammu.

Earlier this year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to create a pool of anti-drone technology, citing drones as a potential threat to governments.

Additionally, a number of states briefed the committee on their readiness to deal with adverse drone operations.

Officials from Rajasthan informed the committee that several departments in bordering areas regularly received instructions/advisories not to discuss strategic information over the phone unless it was authenticated.

In Assam, the Superintendent of Police was advised to identify abandoned airstrips, open grounds and spaces “that may facilitate launching of flying objects and to suitably secure such places by the deployment of security forces…”

Punjab had informed the committee that, in order to monitor such threats, it began conducting physical border patrols that were supported by intelligence inputs.
Aihik Sur covers tech policy, drones, space tech among other beats at Moneycontrol
first published: Sep 20, 2022 12:00 pm
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