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19734534_sStepping up surveillance along the tense border of China and Pakistan, the Indian Army is equipping its troops with hand-held drones. It has floated a request for a proposal for acquiring 49 mini unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which the army feels will be a “game changer,” like they have been for the allied forces in AfPak.

According to Indian Defense News the imminent threat posed by India’s two inimical neighbors China and Pakistan has in recent years forced a rethink on India’s defense preparedness. The cabinet committee on security recently cleared an army proposal to create 72,000-strong Mountain Strike Corp, which will be deployed in the eastern sector facing China. The armed forces, it appears, also wants to send a clear signal to both the neighbors. Recently the Indian Air Force in a show of strength landed its C130J at the DBO base in Ladakh — the world’s highest airstrip.

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The army top brass feels the hand-held drones, which will be unarmed and used mainly for surveillance purposes will give it a “strategic edge” and “reduce costs” in manning high altitude and difficult terrains. To begin with, the UAVs will be employed in Leh and Ladakh sector (Northern Command) to keep an eye on Chinese activities and check terrorist infiltration from across the Province of Kashmir.

The drones will be propelled by electric motor and will thus be “literally noise-free” once they attain a height of 500 metres above ground level. “That will also help them avoid detection,” an officer said. The ceiling for these hi-tech machines will be “1,000 meters above ground level,” with a cruise speed of over 70kmph. “The system should be sturdy and robust, which should be capable of withstanding day-to-day handling and usage by soldiers under combat conditions,” the army’s proposal claims.

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