Updated March 3rd, 2024 at 19:07 IST

Drone surveillance to be part of maritime security: Officials

Traditional maritime surveys and inspections will have to undergo a transformation with the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the officials said.

Reported by: Business Desk
Drone | Image:Needpix
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Security agencies are working on plans for implementing drone surveillance systems along the coastal regions of Mumbai and Goa in order to bolster maritime security, as per officials. 

The statement on Sunday comes in the backdrop of an incident wherein three individuals from Kuwait reached the Gateway of India, which reflects the vulnerabilities of the present coastal security setup, the officials said on Sunday. 

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The three individuals, namely Nitso Ditto (31), Vijay Vinay Anthony (29) and J Sahayatta Anish (29) entered Indian territory through the maritime route, after they escaped with a boat from Kuwait - alleging mistreatment on patrt of their employer in the Gulf country.

The trio were arrested for violating the Passport (Entry into India) Rules after surrendering to the authorities. The officials were concerned of them blending into local population without trace. 

As per a forensic analysis of their Global Positioning System (GPS), the officials said many missing patches were detected on their path, which the three claimed was because they had switched off their devices to save battery. 

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They advocated for using drones extensively to maintain surveillance along the country's maritime borders, since the missing patches were vulnerable to misuse by anti-national elements.

Traditional maritime surveys and inspections must transform, with the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The drones, enabled with high-resolution cameras and sensors, would result in revolutionising the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of these tasks.

The drones would further help in maintaining surveillance with unbeatable precision, capturing intricate images and videos of vessels, coupled with offshore structures and coastal regions. 

The officials also emphasised on the urgency of increasing surveillance along the coastline, as they recalled the tragic events of November 26, 2008, when Lashker-e-Taiba terrorists wreaked havoc in Mumbai. The incident had claimed 166 lives. 

While underpinning the requirement for more vigilance, security agencies feel that deploying long-range drones is essential to monitor the coastline, which includes a 652.6-kilometre stretch in Maharashtra and 101.0-kilometres in Goa.

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The Coast Guard procuring drones, coupled with advanced capabilities which includes features such as vertical take-off and landing features, is a significant step towards increasing measures for surveillance, security operations and search-and-rescue missions.

The officials nevertheless lay stress on the importance of additional drones, equipped with an extended range and night vision capabilities for pre-empting potential threats that arise from neighbouring nations, specifically Pakistan.

Drones that are equipped with night vision and thermal imaging capabilities would be imperative for maritime border surveillance during the night, or in adverse weather conditions since they can detect heat signatures and unusual activities even in situations when there is bare minimum light.

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As per the officials, the drones which have sophisticated identification and tracking capabilities, could identify vessels having Automatic Identification System (AIS) and track their movements.

(With PTI Inputs)

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Published March 3rd, 2024 at 19:04 IST