India's Border Security Force (BSF) is using its recently acquired Israeli tether drones and thermal imagers to keep an all-out watch on the Bangladesh border, according to a news report published by The Hindu.
The BSF has ‘literally gone underground to keep a watch on trafficking in the Dhubri sector of the India-Bangladesh border’, said the report, adding that the BSF has ‘also placed eyes in the sky'.
Headlined as ‘BSF tracks earth, water and air on Bangladesh border’ the report said: “The border force has procured an unspecified number of Israeli tether drones for the Dhubri sector that stretches from Meghalaya to Cooch Behar in West Bengal.”
“Tethered to a base for continuous supply of power, these drones — worth RS37 lakh each — are equipped with day-and-night vision cameras that can capture images within a range of 2 km,” it added.
Five India States (Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and West Bengal) share around 4,096-km border with Bangladesh.
“Of the 263 km that Assam shares, 119.1 km is riverine,” the Indian media report added.
“The 61-km border in western Assam’s Dhubri sector where the expansive Brahmaputra river flows into Bangladesh is arguably the toughest to man,” the report continued. “Vast sandbars or river islands and innumerable water channels make surveillance a challenge, especially during the rainy season,” it further added.
The Hindu quoted Inspector-General of BSF’s Guwahati Frontier Piyush Mordia as saying: “Smuggling is usually done at night and through blind spots that are difficult to monitor. The tether drones are an extension of our physical and biological limitations with cameras constantly feeding images from a maximum height of 150 metres.”
The BSF has also deployed thermal-imagers — non-contact temperature measurement devices — and both underground and underwater sensors to detect movement of people, animals and other objects.
“The underwater sensors are crucial given the topography of the area where our men cannot patrol without boats,” Mordia told The Hindu.
According to The Hindu, smugglers regularly use ‘the Brahmaputra and its channels’ to ‘smuggle drugs and cough syrups sealed in polythene and stuck to the bottom of boats or below a raft.’
“Smugglers are also known to have used children using hollow papaya stems as snorkels to breathe underwater while guiding cattle across the border,” it continued.
“The BSF’s use of gadgets is part of the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System to ensure foolproof security,” said The Hindu.