Bhavesh Kumar

Senior Correspondent, IFSEC Global

December 12, 2015

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Indian Surveillance Pilot Project on India-China Border Fails to Live Up to Expectations

First Surveillance Camera Pilot Project by India along the Challenging Terrain of China Border didn’t Match Expectations

Vikramjit Kakati Under CC BY 4.0

A pilot project to spot incursions by Chinese Army along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has been less effective than the Indian government hoped.

The pilot, which was conducted to test the feasibility of high-resolution cameras for the surveillance needs of Indian territorial forces in unmanned pockets along the border shared with China, was introduced after the 21-dayy stand -off between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Depsang Valley in the Ladakh region in 2013.

A total of 50 locations were shortlisted for deploying surveillance cameras, namely Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

The surveillance cameras used in the pilot project were selected based on whether they could provide clear images within a range of 20-25 km. The footage generated was aimed at helping security forces monitor unchartered activity in remote areas.

During the pilot surveillance cameras were installed near the Thakung post of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which is most susceptible to Chinese transgression. As the Thakung post has the altitude of 14,500 feet, the images captured by the camera at such a high altitude were becoming blurred because of high-velocity winds and frost, according to a senior government official.

A comprehensive surveillance network operated by China lends impetus to the rationale prompting India to install a surveillance network on its side of border.

A plan to connect the surveillance network’s live feed to battalion headquarters in Leh failed to materialise.

After the surveillance cameras, which came from a single manufacturer, failed to produce the desired results, a senior government official has indicated that products from multiple alternative vendors may now be considered.

As a second line of defence on the border te Indian Army undertakes surveillance through unmanned aerial drones. However, it’s widely felt that drones have their own limitations and a combination of cameras and drones is needed.

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