In 2023, 5-fold rise in drones seized along Pakistan border | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: A total 119 drones were shot down and recovered by the Border Security Force (BSF) in 2023 along the country’s western border with Pakistan, marking a more than five-fold increase from the 22 drones seized there in 2022. Of the 119 drone retrievals last year, 108 were in Punjab and 11 in Rajasthan.
While a whopping 22,000 kg of narcotics, in addition to 2.5 lakh units of Phensedyl and over 10 lakh Yaba tablets, were seized by BSF on the eastern frontier, the drugs seized along the western border totalled 841 kg, with Rajasthan witnessing a four-fold rise as compared to the recoveries in 2022.
The significant rise in seizure of drones — used by elements based in Pakistan to push drugs and weapons into Punjab and, to a lesser extent, Rajasthan and Jammu — in 2023 was despite the deployment of handheld static and vehicle-mounted anti-drone systems on the western border for heightened surveillance. Interestingly, the BSF data only relates to drones shot down or recovered; the actual drone activity is much higher, with 400-500 drone sightings reported in 2023.
Sources said the traffickers, since the deployment of updated anti-drone systems in Punjab, have changed tactics as they find it difficult to smuggle in large consignments. “They first switched to Rajasthan border (from Punjab route) but after the seizure of four consignments there in an intelligence-based operation, they took to flying the drones higher to beat surveillance. Of late, the smugglers are flying small drones with lighter payloads of, say, 750 gm,” said an officer.
Most drones coming in from across the border are of Chinese make.
A fully-indigenous anti-drone system is set to be installed across the country’s western border in six months.
As per latest data on seizures by the BSF, the border guarding force apprehended 5,492 persons on the Indo-Bangladesh border last year, up from 5,089 in 2022. Of the 5,492 persons apprehended last year, 2,598 persons were intercepted by the BSF in south Bengal, 269 in north Bengal, 1,336 in Mizoram and Cachar area, 756 in Tripura, 257 in Guwahati and 176 in Meghalaya. The BSF apprehended 282 on the Indo-Pakistan border, up from 210 in 2022. Of the 282 intercepted, 160 were in Punjab, 62 in Rajasthan, 34 in Gujarat and 17 in Jammu and nine in Kashmir.
Of the 22,000 kg of narcotics seized in 2023 by BSF troops on the eastern frontier, 16,752 kg were in Tripura alone. In 2022, a total 29,707 kg of narcotics were recovered from this border, of which 18,648 kg were seized in Tripura.
As many as 57 arms and 1,994 ammunition were seized by BSF along the Indo-Pakistan border, as against 84 arms and 1,143 ammunition it had seized in 2022.
The arms seizures in Kashmir went up significantly to 31 in 2023 from nine in 2022, while in Punjab, this figure fell to 24 from 62 in the corresponding period. On the eastern frontier, 36 arms and 580 ammunition were seized in 2023, as compared to 20 arms and 1,602 ammunition seized in 2022.
While no seizures of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) are shown by BSF on the western frontier, the face value of the FICN caught on the Indo-Bangladesh border totaled Rs 20.1 lakh in 2023, down from Rs 28.6 lakh in 2022.

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