Calling India and the US strategic partners, the White House has reiterated that it wants the plot to kill a Sikh separatist on its soil fully investigated and those behind it be held "properly accountable".
Border Security Force (BSF) troops shot down a drone that entered India in Punjab’s Gurdaspur sector from the Pakistan side on the International Border in the early hours of Friday.
A senior BSF officer said that the drone was spotted at 4.35 am by BSF troops on patrolling duty. They immediately opened fire and it was shot down.
According to the BSF official, a massive search operation has been launched in the area to determine whether the drone has dropped any consignment in the area.
A search operation is underway under the supervision of BSF DIG. It is suspected that the drone was carrying a consignment from Pakistan.
“Brave jawans of BSF spotted a drone coming from Pakistan side. As soon as it entered India, jawans fired 17 rounds of bullets at it. One of the blades of the drone was damaged. The entire area is being searched. The drone will be analysed,” said BSF DIG, Gurdaspur, Prabhakar Joshi.
Pertinent to mention, in the past nine months, security forces have observed the illegal entry of 191 drones into Indian territory from neighbouring Pakistan, raising major concerns in terms of internal security in the country.
The central government recently shared the input from the security forces deployed at the India-Pakistan border to maintain such illegal attempts from the Pakistan side.
Of the 191 drones observed, 171 entered into Indian territory through the India-Pakistan border along the Punjab sector while 20 were seen in the Jammu sector, a document accessed by the ANI mentions.
As per the document, the “UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) observation in Indo-Pak border was seen in Punjab and Jammu frontier with effect from January 1, 2022, to September 30, 2022”.
The documents further reveal that most of these drones or UAVs managed to flee while a total of seven have been shot down by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, who are deployed along the India-Pakistan border to keep a tab on such illegal activities being orchestrated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.
Among seven drones shot down this year between January 1 to September 15 were observed in Punjab’s Amritsar, Ferozpur and Abohar regions.
Officials in the BSF told ANI that drones are being used by Pakistan’s side to transport weapons, explosives and narcotics across the international border in Jammu and Punjab from Pakistan.
The increased drone activity across the border was brought to the notice of Home Minister Amit Shah in the security review meeting in Srinagar recently with top security and intelligence chiefs in attendance. While BSF, which mans the international border with Pakistan in the Jammu sector, believes that it has been able to repel drones carrying arms, ammunition and explosives from Pakistan, the state police and the intelligence agencies differ with this assessment.
The security forces have seized various AK series assault rifles, pistols, MP4 carbines, carbine magazines, high explosive grenades as well as narcotics which were transported into Indian territory from Pakistan from the drones shot down so far.
As per security agencies, BSF intelligence inputs and Jammu and Kashmir Police officials, the drones are also used to drop packets of Afghan heroin for financing terror operations in the Valley and Punjab.
It is learnt that the group behind the transportation of weapons, explosives and drugs is Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terror outfits which have camps across the International Boundary and are backed by ISI.
The Home Ministry is learnt to have directed the concerned agencies to find out a solution to stop drone activities and meanwhile security agencies and law enforcement forces are asked to keep a special watch on such movements.