Why in News:
- The National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the probe into the drone attack inside the IAF station in Jammu.
What are drones
- An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or uncrewed aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew or passengers on board.
- There are three subsets of Unmanned Aircraft- Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Autonomous Aircraft and Model Aircraft.
- Remotely piloted aircraft have been divided into five categories based on their weight-
- Nano : Less than or equal to 250 grams.
- Micro : From 250 grams to 2kg.
- Small : From 2 kg to 25kg.
- Medium : From 25kg to 150kg.
- Large : Greater than 150kg.
- Drones are used for a variety of reasons, including package delivery, agricultural (spraying insecticides, etc.), environmental monitoring, aerial photography, and search and rescue missions.
- Drones are now used for various purposes from taking photographs or shooting videos to military warfare and space exploration.
- Drones fly low and are therefore undetectable by radar systems.
- According to government records, 167 drone sightings were registered along the Pakistani border in 2019, with 77 sightings in 2020.
- Even in the safest cities on the planet, the prospect of a drone attack cannot be ruled out due to the rapid expansion of drone technology and the exponential rise of its global market in recent years.
- Drones are becoming a security risk, especially in war zones where non-state actors are active and have easy access to technology (example- 2019 twin drone attacks on Saudi Aramco crude oil production in Saudi Arabia.)
- Drones are far smaller than conventional aircraft and are utilised for cross-border smuggling of weapons and ammunition as well as attacks.
- Because of their low altitude and small radar, ground forces must rely on optical sightings and aural communications to track them electronically.
- Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are prone to cross-border smuggling and terror strikes since they are border states with a history of terrorism.
- Drone activity has increased in border areas, according to security authorities, with multiple incidents of drones violating Indian airspace and dropping weaponry and ammunition on this side of the border.
Reason for Increasing Drone Attacks:
- Cheap: Drones are relatively cheaper than traditional weapons, but they can produce significantly more destructive outcomes. This is the fundamental reason for their growth.
- Controlled remotely: The most significant benefit of employing a drone for battle is that it can be controlled from afar and does not put any members of the assaulting side in danger.
- Simple to Use: It is because of this easy-to-procure, easy-to-operate, and demonstrated damage potential that anti-drone warfare equipment is critical for any country’s troops.
Rules for Drone Regulations in India:
- Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2020:
- It is a set of government-issued regulations aimed at regulating the manufacturing, import, commerce, ownership, development of drone ports (airports for drones), and operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). It also aims to establish a framework for corporations to deploy drones.
- Drone Regulations 2.0 Policy:
Key issues to be addressed there would include:
- Certifications of sale and controlled operation of drone hardware and software
- Airspace management through automated operations linked into the overall airspace
- Beyond visual-line-of-sight operations
- Contribution to establishing global standards
- National Counter Rogue Drones Guidelines 2019:
- Depending on the criticality of the assets to be secured, the guidelines offered a variety of counter-rogue drone techniques.
- The rules required the deployment of a model consisting of primary and passive detection means such as radar, Radio Frequency (RF) detectors, electro-optical, and infrared cameras in places of crucial national interest.
- Soft and hard kill measures such as RF jammers, GPS spoofers, lasers, and drone catching nets were also suggested to be installed.
- The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has developed two anti-drone Directed-Energy Weapon (DEW) systems, one with a 10-kilowatt laser for a 2-km range and the other with a 2-kilowatt laser for a 1-km range. However, they have yet to be mass-produced in large numbers.
- The military is now importing a small number of other systems, such as the Israeli ‘Smash-2000 Plus’ computerised fire control and electro-optic sights, which can be fitted on guns and rifles to combat the danger of small hostile drones in both day and night settings.
- The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is India’s counter-terrorist task force, headquartered in Delhi
- The NIA functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
- The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India in 2008, which was passed after the deadly 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.
- It is a central agency to investigate and prosecute offences:
- affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, security of State, friendly relations with foreign States.
- against atomic and nuclear facilities.
- smuggling in High-Quality Counterfeit Indian Currency.
- It implements international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organisations.
- It’s objective is also to combat terror in India.
- It acts as the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
NIA amendment of 2019
- The NIA (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Parliament amending the original Act of 2008.
- The now amended NIA act allows NIA to investigate the following additional offences:
- Human trafficking
- Offences related to counterfeit currency or banknotes
- Manufacture or sale of prohibited arms
- Cyber-terrorism, and
- Offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908
- Jurisdiction of the NIA: The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to investigation of such offences, across India. Officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries. The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.
- Special Courts: The original Act allows the central government to constitute Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences. The amended act says that the central government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences. The central government is required to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as a Special Court. Further, state governments may also designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.
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