While several drone sightings have been recorded on its borders, India too has stepped up in its development of drone technologies with more emphasis on ‘Make in India’. In that light, let’s look at some of the recent drone developments on the borders and some deals India has made for indigenous drone and anti-drone technology.
Crux of the Matter
India has witnessed drone intrusions on borders in recent times. As per Rakesh Asthana, the Director General of BSF, India recorded 77 drone sightings on the Western Front in 2020, as compared to 167 in 2019. As per The Indian Express, the annual sightings number stands at around 100 to 150.
Recent Drone Incidents
In June 2021, drone was used for an attack on the Jammu Indian Air Force base.
In July, a drone carrying improvised explosive device (IED) was shot down 8 km inside the Indian border.
In July itself, 8 Chinese drone cameras were recovered on the India-Nepal border as well.
As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute,
India is the world’s third largest importer of military grade Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as of 2020.
India also has 6.8% share in total UAVs transferred across world.
However, Indian defence forces have made several deals for ‘indigenous technology’ for both anti-drone and drone systems.
In September 2021, an agreement was reached between the Indian Air Force and Hyderabad based Zen Technologies. The agreement was for Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (CUAS) which was worth ₹155 crore.
In August 2021, an agreement was reached between the Indian Navy and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for India’s first indigenously developed Naval Anti Drone System (NADS). Developed by DRDO, NDS is going to be manufactured by BEL, a public sector undertaking (PSU) of the Navratna Defence.
In August 2021, a joint venture deal was made between Elbit System of Israel and Alpha Design of India. The ₹100 crore deal was made for 100+ SkyStriker drones, which will be manufactured in Bengaluru.
The type of the drone is ‘Loitering Munition’, which are also known as ‘suicide drones’. These drones were notably supplied by Israel to Azerbaijan, which used them against Armenia in 2020. The 2 countries had fought over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
In September, an agreement was reached between the Indian Army and Bengaluru based Newspace Research & Technologies for 100 Swarm drone units. The reported cost of the agreement is $15 million. As per Livefist, Newspace was founded by an Indian Air Force veteran.
In January, Indian Army and Mumbai based ideaForge had announced an agreement for surveillance drones. The agreement, worth $20 million, will see the procurement of an undisclosed number of SWITCH Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
In India, there is a FDI prohibition for the real estate industry and cigar manufacturing industry. Foreign technology collaboration in any form is also prohibited for Lottery Business, Gambling and Betting activities.