English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Security forces foiling Pakistan’s desperate bid to push drugs into Punjab 

File photo of drugs and weapons seized by BSF from a Pak drone in Punjab

Amritsar: While Pakistan is continuing with its nefarious designs to push large quantities of heroin into Punjab, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Punjab police are gaining an upper hand by launching joint operations which are notching up a high rate of success in foiling these attempts.

However, a desperate Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned and deploying modern drones to give the ISI-backed smugglers an edge. This enables them to evade detection sometimes and bring

narcotics, weapons and explosives through the border districts of Punjab, says a senior police officer.

This correspondent travelled on a four-day special journalistic assignment, along the India-Pakistan border in Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Ferozepur sectors, considered the main route for drug smuggling, to get a first-hand feel of the ground realities for Indian Narrative readers.

A senior BSF officer at ground zero said, “professionally trained personnel from Pakistan’s notorious ISI spy agency control and navigate the drones. They are in league with international drug cartels, and in return get handsome monetary rewards.”

Amritsar (Rural) SSP Swapan Sharma said, “each drone used by the ISI costs around Rs 15 lakh in the open market for electronic gadgets. The heroin, known as ‘Chitta’ locally (which means white in Punjabi), comes in packets of one kilogram from Afghanistan into Pakistan and is then pushed into India via Punjab ”

The lengths that Pakistan is going to in its attempt to destabilise Punjab is evident from the fact that as many as 98 drone intrusions have been spotted in Amritsar and Tarn Taran sectors, from January 2021 to December 2022. The BSF succeeded in shooting down 10 of them, according to Sanjay Gaur, BSF,  DIG, Amritsar.

A Senior BSF officer explained that conventional methods of drug smuggling, that involved throwing packages across the barbed wire on the border, or using PVC pipes as a tunnel have now almost been abandoned. Earlier, these methods were adopted by smugglers by roping in the services of select farmers on both sides of the border fence during the night, especially on foggy days. However, with the tighter vigil of India’s security forces the success rate of seizures went up and this modus operandi is considered too risky by the smugglers and their handlers. As a result the Pakistani establishment has switched over to drones technology to avoid detection.

To meet this threat more effectively, the BSF recently acquired jammers and special guns light up the skies when a humming sound of a drone is heard. This is followed by heavy firing at the target by the BSF’s patrolling teams comprising both men and women. A drone equipped with modern heavy-duty batteries can fly about 14 kilometres with a maximum payload of 8 to 10 kg. Once a drone is shot down, the local police get activated for  joint cordon and search operations of villages and fields for seizing the contraband and catching the culprits.

The recent decision of the Union Government to increase the operational area of the BSF in Punjab from 16 km of the international border to 50 km inside the state has come as a great help in tackling the drug menace. The BSF teams are now free to go in hot pursuit of smugglers up to the extended limit without informing the Punjab police in advance. At the same time, the Punjab police continue to remain empowered to register cases and interrogate the smugglers after they are handed over to them.
In the entire Western Sector comprising Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Jammu and Kashmir a total of 311 drones entered India in 2022. In Punjab alone in 2022, the BSF spotted 254 drone intrusions along the 425 km border in Punjab and shot down 22 of them and recovered 311 kg of heroin. In 2021, only 67 drone intrusions were noticed in the state.

A commanding officer of the BSF said, “due to the tight vigil and modern gadgets available with the force the smugglers are now increasingly using the sea and air routes to send contraband to India. Large seizures of drugs have been made at the Mumbai and Gujarat ports in recent months.”

Also Read: Pakistan’s use of China-made drones to pump arms, drugs to terror groups in Punjab on rise