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Home Ministry to take stock of rising Pakistani drone threat in J&K

MHA is concerned over the unabated smuggling of narcotics and currency through drones from Pakistan

With air surveillance and smuggling of drugs and arms through unmanned aerial vehicles from Pakistan continuing in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has called a high-level meeting to review the overall security scenario in the Union Territory this week.

Highly placed authoritative sources revealed to IndiaNarrative.com that the meeting, to be presided over by the Union Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on December 6 would be, among others, attended by the UT’s Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, Director General of the Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbag Singh and Special DG CID Rashmi Ranjan Swain and other top functionaries of the UT and the Central security and intelligence agencies.

According to knowledgeable sources, the MHA was seriously concerned over the rising challenge of the smuggling of drugs and the arms and ammunition through drones over the International Border in Jammu and the LoC in Kashmir.

Sources said that the MHA was particularly concerned over the unabated smuggling of narcotics and currency through drones from Pakistan for the terror operatives along the International Border in Jammu and Punjab. “Drones are regularly being spotted in Punjab and many of them have been shot down. In Jammu’s Samba district, police have lately seized a consignment of arms and explosives and cash which had been dropped through a drone.

Even as the possibility of some of such smuggled in consignments having fallen in the hands of the terrorists exists, officials insist that many of such attempts were foiled by the Police and security forces.  It has been observed during the past some time that the drones sent in from Pakistan neither blink nor buzz which makes it difficult for people on ground to spot them during night hours. Still, more than six of such UAVs were spotted by the civilians and the security forces and at least two were brought down in Jammu in the last few weeks.

The Government is likely to strengthen security on ground to ensure that consignments dropped by the drones and sent by the Pakistani Army, Rangers and terror commanders from across do not land in the hands of the Over Ground Workers (OGWs), who are largely being used for transporting weaponry from one place to another. Sources said that in addition to drones, the high level meeting would review the latest threats to the minorities, including the displaced Kashmiri Pandits and other outsiders, and nearly two dozen Srinagar-based mediapersons.

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The meeting is also expected to review the progress on the Prime Minister’s Special Package as also the Centre’s current outreach through the visits of over 50 Union Ministers.

This will be the first high level security review meeting on Jammu and Kashmir following the Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the UT in the first week of October 2022. His first in the Kashmir valley and any political leader’s first massive public rally after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, Shah addressed a thick gathering of the Kashmiris at Baramulla.

This was followed by three major political parties from the Apni Party founder-president Altaf Bukhari in Srinagar, Democratic Azad Party founder-president Ghulam Nabi Azad in Uri and the Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar.

In November, however, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.  He reportedly briefed them on the UT’s security and development scenario. “All aspects of the development scenario and security situation in Jammu and Kashmir will come up for review in the meeting,” sources said.

While development works are apace in Jammu and Kashmir including those funded under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Prime Minister’s Development Package, focus of the meeting would be on the security situation.