India’s Border Security Force is all set to use speedboats on rivers in Jammu and Kashmir and in Punjab, to fix what many in the security establishment call an “Achilles’ heel” at the border with Pakistan.
This month, the Army gunned down five terrorists, all of them members of the jihadist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, after they were intercepted near the banks of the Jhelum river in Kashmir’s Uri sector. Clad in fatigues, they crossed the river in a boat, and planned to carry out a fidayeen attack.
The BSF, India’s first line of defence, suspects that such tactics can’t be ruled out at the International Border (IB), which is manned by its personnel. Fences may act as deterrents on land, but the BSF now wants to plug in the loopholes on water.
Pakistan is always trying to play a game of one-upmanship. They are always up to something nefarious like digging tunnels under the river to avoid detection, so new equipment and boats are the need of the hour
– Major General (Retired) PK Sehgal
The BSF’s water wing has procured 43 boats from Cleghorn Manufacturing Company Private Limited. 25 of these boats will be used in Jammu and Kashmir and in Punjab. The rest are meant for use at the India-Bangladesh border.
“We have made state-of-the-art speedboats which have have good speed and beautiful turning radius,” said Prakash Kumar Sha, Cleghorn’s MD. He said they “fulfill the criteria of (the) BSF,” and that he had an order for six more boats for the region.
The BSF tested boats last week, keeping in mind the high threat perception in the Jammu region.
On which water bodies will the BSF use speedboats?
HOW TERRORISTS GAVE THE BSF THE SLIP DURING THE PATHANKOT ATTACK ::
At the time when the Pathankot airbase was attacked in 2016, the BSF had in place a Laser and Infra-Red intruder detection system.
But the terrorists managed to give the force the slip. How? Sources said the BSF later figured that the river flow and undulating water had impacted its system. For instance, the infra-red wouldn’t work once it went underwater, an officer told India Today.
So, the area needs to manned – and that’s where the speedboats come in.
‘MULTI-LAYERED SECURITY’ ::
The BSF already has in place a pilot project – the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) – which relies on an emphasis on using technology to prevent infiltration and smuggling at the western border.
A source said the BSF wants “multi-layered security along with technological assets to ensure fool-proof security.”
“Pakistan is always trying to play a game of one-upmanship. They are always up to something nefarious like digging tunnels under the river to avoid detection, so new equipment and boats are the need of the hour,” said Major General (Retired) PK Sehgal.
“In fact, it has been long delayed.”
Sources say the BSF has floated global tenders to acquire Sonar and Radar systems.
Other equipment, such as night vision devices, handheld thermal imagers (HHTI), laser and drones have already been procured to monitor movements and sounds along the International Border.
By: India Today
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