China-made drones hover over India, call for regulation

New Delhi : India is seeing a deluge of China-made drones, many of them are said to be sighted near the country’s military installations and highly protected areas.

There are nearly five lakhs mostly illegal Chinese-made drones in different sizes and weights, experts say, that pose serious security threats to the country.

The drone market in India is inundated with Chinese-made Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and they are not regularised as per the standards, Sai Pattabiram CEO & founder of Chennai-based Sree Sai Aerotech Innovations Pvt. Ltd. (SSAI) said while talking to UNI.

“To counter these illegal drones, we have to create an indigenous drone ecosystem with proper measures in the country,” Pattabiram says.

The UAVs that can be manoeuvred remotely by a pilot are becoming the signature weapon of terrorists across the globe. The country saw this in the June 27 twin drone attack at the Air Force Station in Jammu.

Among those drones that are used by the military, Iran, Turkey, and China have serious arsenals, there are emerging drone alliances around the world.

Reports say that an improvised low-cost rotary-wing drone was used to drop explosives at the IAF Jammu.

According to the Central agencies, over 300 drones and unidentified flying objects have been sighted along the sensitive border with Pakistan after the 2019 abrogation of Article 370.

Drones have very little infra-red or radar signature to be picked up by the traditional air defence systems and it’s hard to track them at night or in foggy weather because of their small size and low engine noise.

The present technology is not fully equipped to neutralise UAVs.

Their Radio Frequency (RF) is similar to our wifi routers. Even if we use RF jamming to inactive drones, it can affect the Internet as well, Pattabiram says.

Apart from the aggressive tracking, he also suggests monitoring within the country.

According to a study by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the drone market is estimated to touch 886 million dollars by 2021 in India.

Based on their weight, UAVs can be classified into five categories–nano (weighing up to 250 g), Micro air vehicles (MAV) (250g – 2kg), Miniature UAV or small (SUAV) (2-25 kg), medium (25-150 kg), and large (over 150 kg).

They need to require a licensed pilot and permit from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). However, nano drones need not require a permit.

As per the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021, issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the ability to fly a drone in the country is subject to the type of drone and the corresponding permit and license needed for it.

These rules have several restrictions on drone use apart from licences and permits to use drones.

The Ministry is reported to be in the process of preparing new rules to regulate drone use in India.

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