Living along a 198-kilometre long borderline with Pakistan, people have become a force multiplier for the BSF by keeping a hawk’s eye on the drone activities from Pakistan. The BSF has trained people by conducting over 140 drone awareness programmes (DAPs) on various aspects of drone activities along the Indo-Pak border.
As one drives into the border hamlets in R S Pura, Aknoor and Arnia sector along International Border, various flex boards have come up in hamlets to spread awareness among the population about the drone activities. “We keep an eye on drone activities on the border. We have been made aware about the drone activities from across the border for dropping weapons, explosives and narcotics on this side for use of terrorists,” Suchetgarh resident Dayan Singh said.
Apart from BSF’s manual vigilance and technological surveillance, people have now become the third eye on the border on Pakistan-backed drone activities. Another villager and former ex-serviceman Suram Chand says that people living in hamlets along IB are now the third eye on the border apart from BSF’s twin eyes of manual vigilance and equipment surveillance.
The BSF conducted 144 drone awareness programs in over 170 hamlets and schools in border areas of Jammu, Samba and Kathua district in the past, DIG BSF S P S Sandhu said. Drone awareness programmes were launched along IB last year by the Border Security Force following the increase in drone activities from across the border, the BSF officer said.
Drone activities from Pakistan have become a real cause of concern in border areas as many drone droppings have been reported, the DIG BSF said. “Live demonstrations were shown on dropping of consignments by drone”, he said.
BSF officials said that various flex boards were also displayed in villages and schools to spread awareness and enhance coordination and understanding among the border population to foil and report any suspicious drone activities in border areas. GPS-fitted drones capable of lifting 10 kg of weight flew in from Pakistan dozens of times to airdrop several caches of arms, ammunition and narcotics, which were seized by the BSF and the police along IB in the Jammu frontier in 2021.
BSF troops also reached out to the border population and held 86 village coordination meetings (VCMs). “Around 86 village coordination meetings with public representatives and villagers were also conducted by the BSF during the period for better coordination to resolve problems of the border population,” the DIG said.