NEW DELHI: Indian armed forces are expecting more intrusion attempts by Pakistani drones into the Rajasthan and Gujarat regions of the International Border to get a better view of deeper military deployments.
Officials said that in Rajasthan and Gujarat major military deployments are located deep inside. It is unlike other areas along the International Border (IB) between India and Pakistan, where such deployments are located closer to the IB. This means that in areas, apart from Rajasthan and Gujarat, it is easier for Pakistani radars to detect Indian deployments and movements. However, in the two areas, Pakistan has to probe deeper and use more surveillance means such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones, which has its difficulties.
The air defence systems and radars of the armed forces are on full alert along the IB and the Line of Control to thwart any Pakistani air intrusions. Since the Indian Air Force (IAF) air strikes on a Balakot terrorist facility, Indian forces have shot down four Pakistani drones near the IB. All the incidents took place near the border in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Officials said that major military deployments in Rajasthan are located around 80 km away from the IB. While the Border Security Force is deployed along the IB, army and air force installations are deep inside. Officials added that Pakistan would want to keep track of any movement from these installations. Gujarat also has a similar deployment.
“These regions are different from other areas such as Punjab, where the major deployments are closer to the IB. In such areas, enemy radars can easily pick up military deployments along the border,” said the official, adding however that in Rajasthan and Gujarat Pakistani forces have to put more effort.
“Their drones do not have the required capability for such surveillance. Our air defence units are also alive to the present situation,” said an official.
On February 26, a couple of hours after the IAF Balakot strikes, a Pakistani drone was shot down by an Israeli designed SPYDER surface-to-air missile system near the IB in Kutch, Gujarat. The second UAV was shot down by IAF Su-30 jets near Anupgarh, Rajasthan on March 4. The third one which was also shot down had intruded into the Sri Ganganagar sector of Rajasthan on March 9. A day later, another Pakistani UAV was shot down in the same sector.
Pakistan’s use of UAVs for aerial reconnaissance comes amid high levels of alert for the armed forces on both sides of the border. Both countries have carried out military movements both along the IB and LoC, following the Balakot strikes and the Pakistan Air Force targeting Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir.