Indian Army has deployed Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Northern part of Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) to track the movement of Kashmiris. 16 Heron UAVs were originally supplied to the Indian Army in 2007 by Israeli company IAI; 8 of which are thought to be operated out of several bases including Mansbal.
“The UAVs are fitted with human movement detection sensors. These fly from army’s aviation base located at Mansbal in north Kashmir every evening. The UAVs move in different directions in Kupwara and Bandipore districts to keep a watchful eye on the LoC,” a Srinagar-based daily newspaper quoting Indian defence sources reported.
While confirming the deployment of UAVs, Indian Defence spokesman Lt Col J S Brar talking to media men in Srinagar said, “Yes, UAVs are being used. In fact, UAVs and other surveillance devices, including thermal devices, hand held thermal imagers, night vision devices and night vision goggles are being used by army along the LoC.” The report said that the UAVs were used for the first time by Indian army in 2010 on experimental basis.
Besides putting up a 434-km-long barbed wire fencing along the LoC, the Army has also installed Israel-made surveillance grid in north Kashmir. The ‘Surveillance Grid’ is the first monitoring system of its kind in South Asia.