The Jammu and Kashmir police averted a cross-border terror plot by shooting down a drone carrying improvised explosive device (IED) material weighing 5 kg in the border belt of Jammu district on Friday, officials said.
Following information about a drone flying over the border belt of Kanachak along the International Border (IB), a quick reaction team (QRT) of the police swung into action and shot it down using anti-drone strategy in the early hours, they added.
"At about 1 am, the drone made a low flight to release the payload (IED), when it was shot down," Additional Director General of police (ADGP) Mukesh Singh told reporters in Jammu.
He said the drone was carrying a payload of 5-kg IED material in a semi-assembled state and only wires had to be connected to it to trigger a blast.
According to a preliminary analysis, the flying object was a hexa m-copter with six wings and had a GPS device and a flight controller, the officer said.
"A possible IED blast has been prevented," he added.
There is a one-digit difference in the serial number of this drone and the drone shot down in Kathua last year, which points towards the fact that terrorist organisations across the border such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) have acquired flight controllers and are sending drones with arms and IEDs to the Indian side, the ADGP said.
He said the drone shot down on Friday was an assembled one made up of equipment from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Another interesting information is that the string used to drop the payload from the drone was similar to the one found from the crater site of the Jammu Air Force station, which confirms that a drone was used to drop an IED at the airport, the officer said.
According to the ADGP, the drone used in Kathua had entered 30 kilometres inside the border and the distance travelled by such flying objects depends on the weight of the payload.
The drones that dropped consignments of AK-47 rifles earlier in the border areas had a range of 0-12 kilometres from the border.
The recoveries of weapons dropped from drones in the border areas over the last one-and-a-half years included 16 AK-47 rifles, four M4 US rifles, 24 pistols, 15 grenades and 18 IEDs, he said, adding that currency notes were also seized.
Replying to a question, the officer said the IED material was well packed and someone had to pick it up from the Indian side and trigger a blast.
"We waited for the person, but nobody came," he added.
The ADGP said the JeM and the LeT are using drones for terror attacks and sending weapons to their operatives on the Indian side of the border.
This information was obtained from those arrested in connection with around 24-25 such drone sorties in the last one-and-a-half years, he added.
According to the officials, the drone was flying seven to eight kilometres inside the border.