In light of the prominent instances of drone attacks by both state and non-state actors, assess the challenges and capabilities of India in dealing with such security threats.

Drones are remotely controlled, unmanned aircraft that are able to move over a defined trajectory, and comparatively difficult to track and intercept using radars.

Instances of drone attacks are rising by both state and non-state actors:

  • Reports reveal 50-60 thousand illegal drones operating in India.
  • Further, recently there have been more than 150 instances of drone movements from the Line of Control toward India.
  • Such drone attacks are highly prevalent in Kashmir.
  • Recently, Left-wing extremists have also used drones to attack security forces in Maharashtra.

Challenges faced by India:

  • Lack of designated standard operating procedure (SOP) in case of drone attacks.
  • Drones often move undetected across borders, as border signal equipment is unable to capture drone movement.
  • Possibility of attack at vulnerable locations like army base camps, hospitals, nuclear facilities, etc.
  • Absence of technology to neutralize drones within seconds of their entry into India.

Capabilities of India:

  • India was able to successfully neutralize drone attacks launched by the Pakistani side in 2021. This shows the military capacity to deal with such attacks.
  • The presence of cyber security architecture like CERT-IN and Critical Infrastructure Protection Centre can help in detecting and minimizing the impact of drones.
  • India has already developed drone regulation guidelines to deal with unregulated non-state actors’ drones. It has no permission no take-off clause that prohibits the operation of drones without permission.

Even globally, drones are being used to attack Saudi Arabia’s Oil Fields and Iran’s military general. Thus, India must develop its capacities in this regard.

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