Drone Sightings Continue In Jammu, 2 More Spotted

Policemen conduct a verification drive at Chatha near Jammu Airport | PTI photo

Cops Begin House-To-House Verification Drive Near Jammu Airport

Jammu: Police began a house-to-house verification drive in residential colonies near the Jammu airport, three days after an Indian Air Force (IAF) station there was targeted in a first-of-its-kind militant attack using drones, officials said on Wednesday.

In the drive that began from Peer Baba in the Chatta area, police personnel collected details of residents, including their contact numbers.

The IAF also deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fitted with camera that hovered over its station and nearby residential areas for several hours in the afternoon, the officials said.

They said additional floodlights have been installed at the IAF base and more lights on high masts are being set up.

In what was the first instance of militants deploying drones to strike vital installations, two bombs were dropped at the IAF station in the early hours of Sunday, causing minor injuries to two airmen.

The explosions took place around 1.40 am within six minutes of each other. The first blast ripped off the roof of a single-storey building at the technical area of the airport manned by the IAF in Satwari on the outskirts of Jammu. The second one was on the ground.

The aerial distance from the Jammu airport to the international border is 14 km.

There were also reports of sightings of unidentified drones over vital military installations during the previous three nights.

The Army on Monday had confirmed the presence of drones over its brigade headquarters at the Ratnuchak-Kaluchak station and said a major threat was thwarted by the alertness and proactive approach of the troops who engaged the unmanned vehicles after being spotted twice at 11.45 pm and 2.40 am on Sunday night.

Both the drones disappeared after firing by the troops but no debris was found during the subsequent search operation in and around the camp.

Reports also claimed sighting of drones over Ratnuchak and Kaluchak around 1.08 am and 3.09 am on Tuesday and again over the Kunjwani garrison around 4.19 am.

Suspected drones were also spotted over army installations at Miran Sahib at around 9.32 pm on Tuesday and Kaluchak and Kunjwani at 4.40 am and 4.52 am on Wednesday, respectively, the officials said, adding that there was no reaction from the Army troops on the ground as the drones were flying at a high altitude.

An Army officer, when contacted, neither confirmed nor denied the sighting of drones over the past few days.

The Kaluchak Army station was attacked by militants in 2002, in which 31 people including 10 children were killed. Six soldiers and a civilian lost their lives in another militant attack at the Sunjwan military station in February 2018.

NSG, CISF Chiefs Inspect Strike Spot

Meanwhile, the chiefs of the counter-terror force NSG and the civil airports guarding Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Wednesday inspected the scene of the first-of-its-kind militant attack using drones at the Air Force station in Jammu, officials said.

National Security Guard (NSG) director general M A Ganapathy and CISF acting DG S K Saxena visited the Jammu airport where the Indian Air Force (IAF) stated is located.

Ganapathy and Saxena reviewed the security situation and were briefed about the investigation into the drone strike by senior officers, they said.

The NIA has taken over the investigation into the attack.

Kuldiep Singh, the CRPF chief who holds the additional charge of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), was also scheduled to visit the IAF station but his visit got cancelled.

The reason for the cancellation was not immediately known, they said.

Specialists from the counter-terror drone wing of the NSG also demonstrated the functioning of its counter-UAS mechanism at the technical area of the IAF station, sources said.

UAS stands for unidentified aerial systems.

The NSG is understood to have procured the gadget from abroad and it is used to detect unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones and suspicious flying objects that fly at below-radar levels.

The CISF has a stake in counter-drone defence and attack mechanism as it is entrusted with the perimeter security of 64 civil airports, including the sensitive ones at Srinagar, Delhi and Mumbai.

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