J&K air bases on high alert

The Indian Air Force (IAF) bases in Jammu and Kashmir have been put on hight alert following the discovery of a burnt drone in Pujab’s Tarn Taran, which security forces believe was used to drop ammunition this side of the border from Pakistna. Probing further, officers surmised that these heavy-lifting drones from Pakistan made at least eight sorties in 10 days to drop the weapons including satellite phones.

On Monday, four terrorists of the Khalistan Zindabad Force were arrested in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district. Five AK-47 rifles, which weigh about four kilograms with magazine, four Chinese pistols, nine HE grenades, Rs 10 lakh fake currency, 1000 rounds of ammunition and two electronic receivers, were recovered.

The terrorists have been identified as Balwant Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Balbir Singh. Both Akashdeep Singh and Balwant Singh have multiple criminal cases against them. Another consignment was also intercepted which contained five satellite phones and a large number of AK-47 assault rifles. This has led officials to believe that the arms and phones were for Jammu and Kashmir since mobile communication is still snapped there.

Intelligence agencies believe a module of 8 to 10 Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists could also try to carry out a suicide attack at Air Force bases in and around Jammu and Kashmir. Officers said the drones flew low to avoid detection and may have dropped around 80 kgs of weapons between September 9 and 16.

The investigation involved multiple agencies – the Punjab Police, central security agencies, the Border Security Force, the Indian Air Force. Prima facie evidence found that multiple Chinese commercial drones with 10 kg payloads were used in the weapons drop operations across the border.

The investigation revealed the drones may have been launched from locations 2 km inside Pakistan and made to travel the distance of five kilometres at a height of 2,000 feet, and then dropped off the weapons after descending to 1200 ft. The payload was slung from the platform using Chinese mountaineering ropes.

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