Army to use robots in Kashmir for counter insurgency operations



From helping in cordon-and-search operations, negotiating obstacles to lobbing grenades at militants holed up in buildings, the Indian Army will soon have robots to help it in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, IANS reported.

According to report published by IANS, the Ministry of Defence has started the process of procuring around 550 robotics surveillance units with minimum 25 years of service life for counter-insurgency ops in Jammu and Kashmir, sources said on Wednesday.

A senior Indian Army officer told IANS that these robots should be capable of climbing stairs and negotiating obstacles apart from throwing grenades at militants in built-up areas. “These robots should be capable enough for water fording with minimum 20-cm depth,” the officer said.

During cordon-and-search-operations in the Valley, these robots will be the first line of defence, thus helping prevent casualties. “This would avoid casualty to our own troops during initial breach by militants,” IANS quoted an officer as saying.

The ministry has on November 19 called the Indian industries to make representations of their products about robotics surveillance. The ministry is pushing for indigenization to reduce dependence on imports of defence items.

The ministry has initiated the process of procuring on request of the Directorate General of Rashtriya Rifles, the country’s premier counterinsurgency force raised on October 1, 1990 when militancy in Jammu and Kahmir was at its peak and the local law enforcement and paramilitary agencies were unable to contain it. The force is exclusively engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the Valley.

The officer also stated that the robotics surveillance will have the “provision of realtime intelligence inputs for Rashtriya Rifles operations in residential and commercial areas where militants are holed up”. The force would use these robots in built-up areas — residential and commercial areas — for also gathering realtime intelligence inputs prior to movement of troops.

Rashtriya Rifles is also looking for precise delivery of suitable munition through robotics platform during counter-insurgency operations. “The platform must be capable of delivering a suitable munition at the intended target, for example, throwing grenade at places where the militants are holed up,” the officer said.

These robotics surveillance platforms will comprise a launch unit, surveillance camera to provide input in both day and night mode and transmission system, with range between 150 meters and 200 meters.

“Interestingly, it will help in dynamic realtime monitoring of militant activities during operations,” the officer said.

Further, it should be light-weight, rugged and portable and at the same time, shockproof to withstand firing or attacks from militants.

“It should also transmit visual data to a distance of abut 150-200 meters across four walls, facility to rotate 360 degress and pan and tilt,” newsagency IANS quoted an officer as saying.

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