Officials said the movement of drones to drop drugs, arms, and ammunition continues to be a challenge for security agencies, with over 150 such activities being witnessed at several points along the India-Pakistan border in Punjab this year.
He said that the use of drones for smuggling narcotics, arms and ammunition had first surfaced in Punjab in 2019.
Officials said the Border Security Force, which is guarding a 553-km stretch of the border with Pakistan, has shot down ten drones this year, thwarting the infiltration of several uncrewed aerial vehicles.
A senior BSF (Punjab Frontier) official said, “So far, more than 150 drone activities have been observed.”
While one drone was shot down near the Shahpur border post in Amritsar on October 14, two were shot down in the Amritsar sector on October 16 and 17, officials said.
Officials said the smugglers, backed by Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, are using sophisticated and high-end Chinese drones capable of flying with minimal noise and high levels.
One of the drones shot down on October 14 was a quadcopter (DJI Matrix), and a holding and releasing mechanism was also found with this drone.
Officials said most drone activities are concentrated in the areas along the international border in Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts.
However, drone activities have also been observed in Ferozepur and Gurdaspur areas.
A senior BSF official said the BSF had coordinated with the Punjab Police to bust a gang involved in cross-border narcotics smuggling and arms smuggling in the Tarn Taran area this year.
Last month, the BSF decided to shoot down Indian smugglers who came to collect smuggled narcotics and weapons from Pakistan near the International Border.
“If a smuggler comes to collect a consignment or attack, the law allows us to shoot at the smuggler,” the BSF officer said.
The BSF has also rewarded its personnel for shooting down drones in Indian territory.
In April this year, the BSF announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who informed the arrest of persons using drones to smuggle narcotics, arms and ammunition from Pakistan.