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Polls: 49 drones recovered along India-Pak border since MCC enforcement

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) Forty-nine drones have been either shot down or recovered from along the India-Pakistan international border by the BSF in the 60 days of the Model Code of Conduct being in force for the ongoing general election in the country, latest data show.

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Separately, the total recovery of these largely Chinese-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), originating from Pakistan and entering India's Punjab territory and a few in Rajasthan, has seen an about 13 times rise since 2022 in the January-May period.

The MCC, or the Model Code of Conduct, came into force on March 16, the day the Election Commission held a press conference here to announce a seven-phase election in the country.

The dataset, prepared by the Border Security Force (BSF), the unit that guards the 2,289 km India-Pakistan international border, and analysed by PTI, shows that a total of 49 drones, or UAVs, were either shot down or recovered by the security agencies from March 16 till date.

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The maximum recoveries, 47, were made in Punjab, the border state which will vote in a single phase on June 1 for its 13 Lok Sabha seats.

The remaining two of these "security threat" flying machines were recovered from along the Rajasthan border in the Sriganganagar and Bikaner sectors, also guarded by the BSF.

In Punjab, the highest number of recoveries were made in the Amritsar sector, followed by Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, and Abohar, the data shows.

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"Both human intelligence and technical gadgets are being used to down or track these illegal drones which pose a serious security threat along the Pakistan border as they also bring along drugs and arms.

"The BSF and its sister agencies, like the Punjab and Rajasthan Police, various anti-narcotics departments etc, have stepped the effort to track drones in view of the EC directions to undertake extra vigilance so that the polls process is not vitiated by these UAVs that push in drugs and also weapons at times," a senior BSF officer posted in Punjab said.

The international India-Pakistan border runs along Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat along India's western flank. The Punjab region shares 553 km of the front with Pakistan.

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The drone menace that reared its head first in 2020 along the Jammu border is continues with a record pace.

As per the data, while only six drones were either shot down or recovered from along this border in 2022 during January-May 14, it rose to 14 in 2023, and 75 in 2024 in the same period -- an about 13X rise since 2022.

In the whole of 2022, a total of 22 drones were downed or recovered, while in 2023, this number was 119.

"The menace of these drug and arms laden drones entering India from Pakistan illegally via the aerial route does not look to be going down in the near future," a Union home ministry officer said.

"It is estimated that a good number of such UAVs are able to duck (under) the radar of security forces like the BSF and the state police but there is no doubt that the capabilities of these agencies have bettered over the time and they are able to track an increasing (number) of these surreptitious flying objects," the officer added. PTI NES VN VN

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