New Delhi: India has identified the technology to tackle "rogue drones" and soon a comprehensive counter-drone policy would be rolled out to avoid terror attacks like the one on Sunday at Air Force Station Jammu, according to high-level sources.
In a high-level meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, measures and strategies to counter "weaponised drones used for terror purposes against strategic and commercial assets" were discussed. The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, among others.
In what is believed to be the first use of drones in a terror attack on an Indian military facility, two blasts took place at the Air Force base on Sunday.
Two Indian Air Force personnel suffered minor injuries in the explosions that took place a little before 2 am at the high security airport located around 14 kilometres from the border with Pakistan.
"Across the North Western sector (Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab), regular deployment of a counter-drone system is needed. A comprehensive policy in national interest is being worked out," a senior official disclosed.
The government has decided that Indian Air Force will be the nodal agency to deal with such technology.
"The government wants the Air Force to take the lead in coordinating all efforts on how we evolve in countering drones in future," the official said, adding that a combination of technologies and techniques will be used for this purpose.
"There is no universal policy to deal with rogue drones, so a combination of techniques needs to used depending on the vitality of an asset," he explained. The National Technical Research Organisation, India's tech-intelligence agency, will also be roped in for assistance.
The deployment models will consist of primary and passive detection means, including radio frequency (RF) detectors, electro-optical and infrared cameras, radars, drone catching nets, GPS Spoofers, lasers, and soft and hard kill measures like RF Jammers.
Following Sunday's attack, the Ministries of Civil Aviation and Home Affairs will review existing regulations pertaining to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
"The ambiguity about launching drones needs to be addressed," explained a senior Home Ministry official.
The Border Security Force is in the process of acquiring a ground-based standalone platform capable of detecting lone, suspicious flying objects or groups of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and reacting quickly. Indian Army has already been given the go-ahead to acquire artificial intelligence-equipped drones that can be deployed during such attacks.
"Recent incidents have shown how small drones have been improvised by terror groups to carry explosive. So, an urgent need to acquire artificial intelligence-equipped drones has been felt," the Home Ministry official said.