The Defence Research and Development Organisation and other agencies are developing an indigenous technology to tackle security threats posed by drones, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday.

Smuggling of drugs, arms, and explosives through tunnels and drones is a major challenge,” Shah said at the 18th Investiture Ceremony of the Border Security Force at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan, the Hindustan Times reported.

“Today, it is very important for us to deal with these challenges at the earliest,” he added. “I am confident that we will soon increase our presence at the borders with Swadeshi [made in India] anti-drone technology.”

The comment came weeks after drones were allegedly used to drop explosive material that caused two low-intensity blasts at the Jammu Air Force Station.

Shah said that security forces must prepare to tackle any threats to national security posed by artificial intelligence and robotics technology. He added that all gaps in India’s border fencing will be filled by 2022. “A country cannot be secure if its borders are not secure,” he said.

Various government agencies and private players have held several meetings to devise technology to detect and mitigate the threat of rogue drones, according to the Hindustan Times. A procurement plan for the technology is said to be at an advanced stage.

On July 1, Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane had said that state and non-state actors will increasingly use drones in all sorts of combat. “We are developing the capability to deal with this threat in both kinetic and non-kinetic realms,” hehad said. “We are focusing on offensive use of drones as well as using counter-drone technology to tackle the threat.”

Security challenges posed by drones

Since the June 27 explosions in Jammu, there have been at least six sightings of suspected unmanned aerial vehicles, according to NDTV.

A day after the blast at the airport, the Indian Army said that two separate “drone activities” were tracked over the Ratnuchak-Kaluchak military area in Jammu.

A drone was spotted over the premises of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad in June. The Ministry of External Affairs had confirmed the incident and said that India had officially taken up the matter with Pakistan.

Rajouri and Srinagar districts have banned the use and possession of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles. The district administrations directed those who own drones to deposit them at their local police stations. While Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, Rajouri is close to the Line of Control in the Pir Panjal Valley.