BSF plans to raise marine battalion, drone squadron for Sundarbans operations

Team India Sentinels Wednesday 20th of December 2023 08:58 AM

BSF women personnel during a patrol duty in the Sundarbans on floating border outpost Ganga. (BSF file photo)

New Delhi: The Border Security Force is planning to raise a marine battalion, a drone squadron and procure all-terrain vehicles for patrolling the Sundarbans to curb infiltration and smuggling in the mangrove delta that shares a long border with Bangladesh, officials in the Union home ministry told media. The blueprint of the plan submitted by the BSF’s South Bengal Frontier is awaiting the green signal from the ministry.

According to the plan, the BSF wants to raise a marine battalion of 1,100 personnel and a drone squadron comprising 40 long-range surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles. The border force is also seeking all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for its units deployed in the region for better patrolling.

The BSF has already deployed floating border outposts in the Sundarbans. It has also deployed women personnel, known as “Mahila Praharis” to patrol some of the toughest areas in the region, as India Sentinels reported in December 2022.

The Sundarbans is a vast delta covering over 10,000 square kilometres. Around 60 per cent of it belongs to Bangladesh and 40 per cent to India.

Although each part of the Sundarbans, which is famous for its Indian tigers and rare birds, is accessible by boat as the region is crisscrossed by a complex network of tidal waterways, the terrain is vast and made up of mudflats, fertile-for-paddy islands, and small mangrove islands. This makes it very difficult to guard the region and prevent illegal activities, like drugs and cattle smuggling, infiltration, wildlife poaching, including marine wildlife poaching, etc.

Therefore, a unit trained to operate specifically in such terrain, along with ATVs and surveillance UAVs will give a big boost to the BSF’s capabilities to guard the region.


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