UAVs fail to penetrate deep forests to track Naxals

Last Updated 28 July 2010, 11:09 IST

The security forces which are trying various UAVs over the terrain dotted by thick foliage in Maoist-affected states to track the movement of the ultras have not found a machine which could penetrate the forest cover and give them the desired intelligence.

"We have not been able to acquire any such equipment... surveillance equipment... which would tell the movement of people from air borne vehicles... UAVs... from under the cover of thick foliage," Additional Director General of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), P C Sabarwal, said at an internal security conference here.
The BPRD is the national agency under the central government which looks after modernisation of police forces and takes up new areas of research in subjects related to policing.

Sabarwal also said no service provider offering security gadgets have been able to come up with a solution to defuse and detect Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and landmines buried 15 feet or deeper in areas of combat including Naxal zones.

"To our disappointment none of the service providers could come up with a solution (to counter these IEDs)," Sabarwal said while speaking at a CII conference on "Safe city- securing your world" and other internal security related issues.

I would request the participants (business representatives) to apply their mind according to our requirements. We are open to all new ideas and suggestions, he said.
The Chhattisgarh government and the Centre earlier had carried out a test of a UAV manufactured by an American company, which was used by the US troops to track down Taliban militants.

This was done in the aftermath of the Dantewada incident where 75 CRPF personnel and a state policeman were killed in a deadly Naxal ambush on April six.

Officials had successfully flown the UAV over the dense forests of Bastar in the first trial run for anti-Naxal operations, but the Chhattisgarh government wants to re-test the pilotless planes after the monsoon rains, which will make the jungles even more dense.
With intelligence gathering still a problem in Naxal areas, the aim of testing UAVs is to help in gathering advanced reconnaissance and situational awareness functions, which are critical in protection of security personnel. Security forces like CRPF, BSF and ITBP along with state police units have been regularly targeted by Naxals in IED blasts. In certain cases, mines and IEDs were buried under tarred roads and triggered when troop convoys went over them.

Speaking on the occasion, retired Maharashtra Director General of Police A N Roy said the vendors providing security solutions to police and para-military forces should "bring the best in technology."

Roy said that issues concerning internal security have now reached the board room of business companies and the new technology should be able to meet the specific needs of security forces rather than dishing out something which is not applicable to Indian conditions.

"We still do not have a effective system to track down a suspect vehicle in a busy street," Roy said.Inspector General of BSF Jammu frontier Siddharth Chattopadhaya said the gadgets made by the companies are "misdirected and not focused to our needs and requirements."

Joint Secretary (Police) in ministry of Home Affairs Ashok Lavasa said technology will play a major role in securing cities and the human beings there.

(Published 28 July 2010, 11:09 IST)

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