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Saturday, 22 October 2016
A laser wall across PAKISTAN INTERNATIONAL BORDER
Drawing a virtual border inside Pakistan, motion sensors and a technology upgrade for laser walls that will detect any break-ins are part of the high-tech plan to strengthen the India-Pakistan international border against infiltration.
In a breakthrough for border defence systems in the country, the Border Security Force (BSF) upgraded the laser wall technology being used along the border in late September- early October, it is learnt. Using infra red rays and laser beams, the laser walls cannot just detect when there is a breach but can also tell differentiate between man and beast.
Earlier this year, the BSF had confirmed the installation of CRON laser walls at certain areas along the border, after a wait of two years, post the decision. These virtual walls will keep a vigil on intrusion attempts from across the western border.
"The surgical strike made the situation at the borders more tense and we were requested to upgrade all existing systems with the newer KVI-101S (technology) since the BSF believes that this time around the intrusion attempts will increase," said Tushar Chhabra, founder of CRON Systems. "The plan is to cover the entire frontier with the new laser walls by February-March next year," he told DNA.
Laser wall shown during a demonstration
Though minor upgrades of the intrusion detection systems were done over the months, it was following the surgical strike that a new series of virtual laser walls were installed on eight kilometres of the border.
"The KVI-101S system requires very little human intervention, has smarter detection capabilities and the encryptions are hack-proof. The previous technology was not capable of managing in marshy lands, which is the condition in most frontier areas. With the new KVI series, that problem has been resolved," Chhabra said.
The new technology, he explained, uses next generation IR optics to provide all weather and harsh terrain early detection capabilities.
According to former BSF inspector general Rakesh Sharma, who first adopted the technology,``Human error can never be neglected and therefore BSF needs the latest technology to guard our borders because the counterpart will never stop attempting (to intrude). I am proud to know that these systems are being made in India."
While the laser walls are already up, India is also planning to look beyond the actual international border (IB) by drawing virtual borders inside Pakistan. Hoping to "completely seal" the international border with Pakistan in the next two years, home ministry officials explained that GPS coordinates of longitude and latitude fixed at least 200 metres to one kilometre inside Pakistan side would be used as a virtual border. This would be continuously monitored by a sequence of high definition and thermal imaging cameras fitted on balloons and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
"We are planning to use this kind of latest high end technology in areas that are inaccessible due to the very difficult terrain. The idea is to check the infiltration attempts before the terrorists reach the actual border; for this, the key is having enough response time in hand," an official told DNA.
The plan to plug the unguarded 181.85 kilometre part of the border also includes other high end technologies like ground penetrating radars, motion sensors, thermal imagers, smart fences, speedboats, hovercrafts and drones. Though it looks easy on paper, officials admitted that it would be extremely tough to complete the task by December 2018 as these patches run through the marshlands of the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, the sands of Rajasthan and the riverine region in Punjab and Jammu where rivers and nullahs crisscross the international border in many places.
"We need different technology and different barrier strategy for each terrain because of their dissimilar natures," said the official.
In the marshy area of Kutch, where movement is difficult, balloons and UAVs with high definition mounted cameras and hovercrafts on ground may be used. In the riverine patches, a favourite infiltration route that official believe was used for the Dinanagar and Pathankot attacks, a variety of surveillance equipment like motion sensors, infrared and thermal imagers, UAVs and high speedboats as well as choppers for quick response are likely to be deployed.
In Rajasthan. where shifting sand dunes make the three-four metre high fences redundant, the ministry plans to increase the height of the fences to 10-12 metres high as well as deploy motion sensors and ground penetrating radars to check tunnels.
While bringing in technology is not a problem, the biggest challenge before the ministry is to train BSF personnel. "For this we need jawans with both brain and brawn who have the mindset to adapt to the new technology. The next two years will also be dedicated to train and induct a large number of BSF personnel who can effectively put the new technology to use," said the official.
While the border between India and Pakistan runs for about 3,000 kilometres, the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between the two countries is about 800 kilometres. Of the 182 odd kilometres of unguarded border, about 30 are in Rajasthan where the sand dunes keep shifting, 55 in the marshlands of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat and 100 in riverine areas of Punjab and Jammu
A further upgradation of the laser wall with a system called miCRON, which will enable encrypted communication for five-layer fencing, complete automation of border holding, is being designed and manufactured in India. The pilot will be seen in February-March in Jammu. This will make the Jammu border one of the most Intrusion proof borders in the world.
CRON also confirms in its website that it is working working on automated drones and smart fencing. This will add an additional layer of defence to India's borders and critical facilities