UAVs, ATVs to shore up BSF power in Rann of KutchMarch 18, 2015
From Kishor Dwivedi
An array of modern Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), fast-attack craft and all- terrain vehicles (ATVs) will soon bolster the dominion power of the BSF deployed to guard the marshy and arid Rann of Kutch region along the Indo-Pak border.
The country’s ‘first line of defence’ is also planning to station some all-weather floating vessels near the disputed waters in the region including around Sir Creek and Harami Naala areas, a top BSF commander said.
“The border guarding force is vigorously pursuing to get UAVs and we are very hopeful that very soon we will be able to get these,” BSF Inspector General (Gujarat Frontier) Santosh Mehra said.
Mehra said, as of now, routine sorties by UAVs are being carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the request made by BSF along the 850-km stretch on the Indo-Pak border.
The patrolling in the marshy Kutch region, which is currently being done by foot soldiers and four all-terrain vehicles, will further be enhanced with the induction of more all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), the IG said.
The demo of the ATVs have been taken and some customisations are being done by the supplier firm as per the suggestions made by the BSF, Mehra said, without disclosing the exact number of procurements to be made.
“We have projected requirement for getting more ATVs. I would not like to mention the exact number, but a very large number of ATVs will be coming, not only in terms of numbers but varieties also,” Mehra said.
Also in the pipeline are fast-attack craft that the force has been seeking for sometime to facilitate quick action along the vast stretches of the Great Rann.
“We are also getting fast-attack craft very shortly. A team has recently visited the United States of America. It had been in the pipeline for quite some time but maybe in the next three-four months we will be able to get fast-attack craft that will be able to move at very short notice,” Mehra said.
“Their range is more, they are able to move at faster speed, can carry more number of individuals and they have greater stability,” Mehra said, speaking about the capabilities of the soon-to-be-inducted warship.
In order to overcome the limitations of the currently deployed floating vessels (floating border posts) in the Koteshwar sector of the area, the BSF is in the process of procuring all-weather floating vessels, which can remain in the water round the year regardless of tidal effects and weather conditions.
“We are in the process of obtaining all-weather BOPs. Right now, our BOPs are fair weather ones which means they can operate only from September till March but very shortly we are going to get all-weather floating BOPs which can operate in all types of weather including the inclement weather that we face during the monsoons in this area,” Mehra said.
“…we will be getting sufficient number of such BOPs,” he said when asked about the number of vessels to be procured.
BSF, which has an exclusive air wing amongst all central security forces, is also expecting to get a modern Mi-17-V5 chopper which will facilitate movement of resources in the otherwise uninhabited region.
“We are in the process of getting a helicopter very shortly for carrying out our operations and duties in this border area,” Mehra said.
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