Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday (July 23) said that it shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) carrying a 5-kg Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Kanachak area of Jammu which has witnessed an increase in such incidents since last month.
Additional Director General of Police Jammu zone Mukesh Singh said that a police team, which was deployed in Akhnoor sector following intelligence inputs, shot down the drone with its payload that was almost in a “ready-to-use” state.
This intelligence regarding the Friday incident, Singh claimed, was gained from those arrested in connection with the drone sorties. In the past one month, more than a dozen incidents of hostile drone sightings have been reported from Jammu’s border as well as interiors triggering a security concern.
While speaking to media about the latest incident, Singh said that the drone had crossed over from Pakistan and appeared to be assembled with parts from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – a claim that also hints at the new possible strategic reality in the region.
"It was a Hexacopter with a flight controller and a GPS. The serial number of the flight controller is a digit different from the drone which was found in Kathua, last year, " Singh was quoted as saying.
The payload is dropped by using a string from drones. The incident, Singh added, has created a pattern with the attack at the Jammu airbase in which a payload exploded and injured two soldiers on June 27.
Since then, multiple sightings of UAVs have been reported along the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) and especially in Jammu. The use of hostile UAVs is not recent and have been spotted earlier in Jammu’s Kathua and Akhnoor, and in the border district of Kupwara in Kashmir.
Also read: UT Administration Bans UAVs in Parts of J&K as Security Concerns Grow
According to Singh, as many as 16 AK47 rifles, 3 M4 rifles, 34 pistols, 15 grenades, 18 IEDs and Rs 4 lakh cash have been recovered in drone-related incidents from the region in the last year and half. The ADGP claimed that the UAVs are being used by militant groups like Jaish e Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar e Toiba (LeT) to “send operatives as well as ammunition” to the union territory.
The security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir have expanded their anti-drone system capacity and jamming technology, especially around key military installations in the wake of heightened drone activities.
In July, the authorities also banned use of all forms and types of drones in parts of the region including in the summer capital of Srinagar in view of the security situation.
The cross border exchange comes at a time when India and Pakistan have agreed to uphold a ceasefire in March this year after more than a year of heightened violence along the de facto border that killed both soldiers and civilians on both sides.
A senior army official, however, blamed the Pakistani side of attempting to “prick” India by continuing to push infiltration, narco trade and UAVs, while the exchange of fire has been halted. “There has been no let up in such cases even though the ceasefire should encompass these activities as well,” the officer told NewsClick.
The Jammu division has reported an increase in overall militancy related incidents this year apart from the UAV related cases. The incidents have been reported from both the areas of IB as well the LoC where security agencies have made huge recoveries of arms and ammunition, and have also carried out arrests related to militancy related modules.
The areas to the South of Pir Panjal Range which includes the Chenab Valley have since emerged as an alternative route for such hostilities after remaining dormant for years.
Also read: 2 Explosives-laden Drones Crash into IAF Station at Jammu Airport, 2 Injured