The Walls Have Eyes

  • Shabir Ibn Yusuf
  • Publish Date: May 11 2017 2:35AM
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  • Updated Date: May 11 2017 2:35AM
The Walls Have EyesFile Photo

How the Indian military is using an Israeli surveillance system to check infiltration into Kashmir

 

It clearly hasn’t succeeded in completely ending infiltration of militants into Kashmir, but the Indian army claims it has managed to reduce the incidence rather drastically over the past few years. How? By installing an “Israeli-made round-the-clock hi-tech surveillance grid” on the Line of Control and the International Border.

The grid, officially known as the Long-Range Reconnaissance and Observatory System, or LORROS, is part of the army’s “three-tier security” and has helped detect the movement of militants in Keran, Tangdhar, Machil, Gurez, Uri and Machil sectors of the LoC. 

The overall operation to check infiltration is named Chakravyuh, according to a senior army officer who has been involved in “managing” some sectors of the LoC. “Chakravyuh drew inspiration from the impenetrable military formation of the Mahabharata. But it is actually modelled on an Israeli security mechanism to plug any possible routes for militants to infiltrate,” the office said. He explained that from intelligence gathering to surveillance, observation, communication and mobility, the “state-of-the-art technology” has helped “synchronise the counter-infiltration grid along the LoC and made it robust”. 

The system comprises “a network of highly-sensitive sensors, radars, cameras, optical fiber cables and automated guns linked to a 24x7 monitoring room”. “Also, micro-aerostat balloons with high-quality surveillance cameras are being fitted to monitor the skies along the border,” he said. “And there are underground sensors that trigger an alarm during any suspicious movement along the LoC fence.”

These sensors are “linked to automatic guns mounted on rotors and mated to night-vision cameras providing live images to commanders manning workstations with mapping software in the bunkers”, the officer said. A buzzer is sounded if the grid is broken, he added, “swivelling the weapon in the direction of the intrusion site”. “If the target is visually identified as hostile, the observer simply presses a button to take it out,” said the officer, who himself is trained in operating these remote-controlled weapons.

“The first prototype sub-machine guns operated by remote control were tested in the Akhnoor sector in 2016,” the officer said. “The deployment of these weapons shield and assist soldiers as they go about their daily task of perimeter protection and intrusion detection.” Now, he said, these guns have been installed along the border in the valley as well. 

“This Israeli-made grid is the first of its kind in South Asia to detect human movement,” he said, adding that the technology helps gather “reliable and credible intelligence inputs” about possible infiltration attempts. It apparently not only intercepts infiltrators’ communications but assesses them as well. “It even works during bad weather conditions such as haze and fog and when it is snowing,” the officer added.

To complement the grid, the army is operating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to thwart infiltration. UAVs are used to monitor “infiltration routes” and in moving instruments for surveillance. “The UAVs give imageries and the exact location of infiltrators for effective domination and quick reaction to the situation at any point of time. They are the eyes and ears of the surveillance grid,” said the officer.

As for troop deployment, there’s a three-layer set-up. The first layer is right on the LoC, the officer explained. These troops are alerted to any infiltration bids by the underground sensors. “But this is not always successful especially due to dense forests,” said the officer. The second layer “involves tracking militants using UAVs in the air and troops with Hand Held Thermal Imagers on the ground. The second layer, deployed some distance from the LoC, comprises joint columns of the army and the Border Security Force. The third layer comprises of the army in the valley working with police and paramilitary forces.