India is stepping up its drone surveillance system in border areas to ward off any Hamas-like attacks that took place on Israeli soil on Oct 7. Two weeks of devastation has left above 8,000 people dead in both Israel and Gaza Strip.
India has also battled similar surprise attacks by terror groups based in the neighbouring countries. Drawing lessons from the Israel-Hamas war, India doesn’t want to be caught off-guard if a similar situation arises at its own border.
According to a report by Bloomberg, India’s defence officials met six vendors of surveillance and reconnaissance drones over the last week. An order is expected to be placed very soon.
Significance for India
India needs a robust border defence system to ward off terror threats and foil the dangerous designs of its enemies. For instance, in 2008, terrorists from Pakistan armed with assault weapons and grenades infiltrated Mumbai by sea and managed to kill 166 people.
India is now acting with urgency on this matter. According to media reports, Indian forces are looking to have the drone defence system up and running by as early as May.
Not just that, persistent border tensions with China in the Himalayas and Pakistan also warrant a well-equipped border drone defence infrastructure.
It must be noted that this system would be used not just to tackle security challenges but also the drug menace. Pakistan-based groups are believed to be using drones to smuggle drugs across the border.
According to reports, it might take India almost 18 months to cover the entire stretch of borders. The system will cost India $500 million annually.
How does this system work?
Solar-powered drones known as High-Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) will be deployed to support the drone infrastructure, capable of extended flight durations without requiring frequent landings.
These 24/7 high-altitude, long-endurance drones will also serve as backup for the conventional radar network along the country’s borders, transmitting images directly to local command centres.
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Both the drones and the accompanying software will be developed domestically, as the Indian military aims to enhance local production within the context of a $250 billion, 10-year military modernisation initiative.
Once operational, the entire 22,531-kilometre-long land and sea borders will be continuously monitored.