India: Counter-insurgency wars expand with drones and tech surveillance

[There’s no mention in this press report of the routine failures of drones and satellites in assessing and exaggerating the techonoligical prowess of these instruments, wherever they are being used (in many countries), with broad targeting of civilian non-combatants as the result.  As a result, this “news” report sounds more like a sales brochure from one of the US or Israeli drone suppliers. — Frontlines ed.]

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“First NTRO station activated in Maoist hotbed”

Press Trust of India, 31 October 2012

NEW DELHI, 31 OCT: The country’s specialised department for technological surveillance , National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) has set up its first base in a naxal hotbed in Chhattisgarh to monitor the movement of armed Maoist cadres and fly UAVs to help security forces to track them.

This key project has been operationalised with the establishment of five satellite-linked terminal stations at a designated location in the state by the NTRO with the help of paramilitary CRPF, the lead anti-naxal force with more than 75,000 troops deployed for such tasks.

Sources involved in the technical department of the base station said CRPF has now linked the operations of its ten Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with the new NTRO facility which will function round-the-clock.

The NTRO station will act as a gateway for acquiring satellite data and pass them on to ground patrol parties. The UAVs can then be operated in specified areas.

The centre also has the facility to analyse information about geographical features, weather, available troop reinforcements and logistics before the on-field commanders undertake an operation, they said.

The facility, which is manned by NTRO-trained CRPF ‘Signals’ officials, will also share intelligence and geographical information with the NTRO headquarter in Delhi.

“The activation of the five V-SAT terminals for NTRO is expected to provide an edge to security force operations in difficult terrains where Maoist ambushes and IED blasts are a major threat to the troops. The UAVs can be given real time satellite information through the centre,” the sources said.

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