December 21, 2004

UAVs join hunt for Lashkar-e-Toiba militants

UAVs join hunt for Lashkar-e-Toiba militants

http://www.shephard.co.uk/uv.aspx?ee884a2c-811d-473b-9335-a8fbcdfc6613

JAMMU, DECEMBER 19: For the first time ever, security forces — involved in counter-insurgency operations — in Jammu and Kashmir have pressed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to track down militants in Doda heights of Jammu region.

Sources said the UAV was flown over Kishtwar heights in Doda district to spot the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants responsible for December 15 looting of arms and ammunition from the Singhpora Post in Kishtwar tehsil.

During several hours of flying, the camera — fitted in the Israel made UAV —captured several pictures. Though none showed any militant movement, the pictures helped security agencies draw a map of the rigorous Kishtwar terrain for carrying out future operations in the area.

When contacted, Satvir Gupta, DIG Doda-Udhampur Range, said: ‘‘The aim is to see that technology is used to help reduce troop deployment and increase efficiency.’’

Meanwhile, after getting the pictures, the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) have launched an operation in the Kishtwar heights, bordering Qazigund on one side and Anantnag in South Kashmir on the other.

The UAV, defence sources said, is a toy plane that can fly for about eight hours. The cameras fitted on it can click pictures to serve as a good reconnaissance and surveillance device.

An officer added they would again fly UAV in the highlands shortly. Sources said security agencies flew the UAV for two days consecutively. However, since militants as well as troops wear similar outfits, it becomes difficult to tell one from the other.

However, sources say troops overcome the drawback by contacting their men on wireless sets and find out their positions.


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