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DNA Explainer: The increasing use of drones for terror activities

The use of drones has gained prominence among terror outfits for the delivery of arms, explosives, intelligence collection and targeted attacks.

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DNA Explainer: The increasing use of drones for terror activities
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A day after the first terrorist drone attack was reported on its soil, India raised the issue of the use of weaponised drones for terrorist activities against strategic and commercial assets at the UN General Assembly.

Speaking at the 2nd High-Level Conference of the Head of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of the Member States in the General Assembly, India’s Special Secretary (Internal Security), V S K Kaumudi said that the use of drones was "another add-on" to "existing worries" and deserves serious attention of the global community.

"The possibility of the use of weaponised drones for terrorist purposes against strategic and commercial assets calls for serious attention by the member states. " Kaumudi said, according to his statement issued by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN.

A day ago, two drones loaded with explosives crashed into the Indian Air Force (IAF) station at Jammu airport.

Why are drones gaining popularity among terror organizations?

Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are cheap and easily available. They can be designed and easily modified for various purposes.

Drones are used for a variety of commercial activities like aid distribution, rescue operations, 3D mapping, product delivery and aerial photography. Militaries around the world use drones for reconnaissance and aerial security purposes apart from counter-terrorism activities.

Recently, the use of drones has also gained prominence among terror outfits for the delivery of arms, explosives, intelligence missions and targeted attacks. Drones can fly low, which helps them evade detection.

In January 2019, a drone strike killed six watching a military parade at the Anad base in Yemen. Then in September in the same year, state-owned Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia was the target of a drone attack. The Houthi rebels claimed responsibility both the times.

The Islamic State is also known to use drones for strikes in Iraq and Syria. It killed and wounded dozens of Iraqi soldiers in drone attacks during the Battle of Mosul. Other outfits known to employ drones are Hezbollah, the Taliban and a number of Pakistan-based terror outfits.

As per the Indian government, there have been more than 240 drone sightings in 2019 and 2020 combined. There have been several incidents of armed consignments being dropped into India from Pakistan in both Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

At the UNGA, Kaumudi had noted, "It is imperative for countries to adopt a multi-pronged approach to tackle the global threats emanating out of misuse of new technologies particularly aiming towards terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism."

 

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