Amid a growing threat from IEDs, particularly remote-controlled ones, the ministry of home affairs has cleared a proposal to buy vehicle-mounted remote-controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED) jammers for VVIP protectees.
The plan of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which gives protection to all top leaders, ministers, and dignitaries, such as union home minister Amit Shah, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party president JP Nadda, etc, has been approved at a cost of about Rs 45 crore.
According to a communication, the estimated cost of one such vehicle is close to Rs 4.5 crore.
The CRPF will now start the process of procuring 10 of these vehicles with RCIED jammers.
According to sources, the forces are facing an acute shortage of such vehicles and majorly depend on states. These jammers will be used in hyper-sensitive areas, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, and regions affected by left-wing extremism in case of VVIP visits.
According to home ministry data, J&K is witnessing an increase in seizures of IEDs.
“A proposal was sent last year in October regarding RCIED jammers in view of a growing threat from IEDs under police modernisation. The proposal was cleared a few days back with an estimated cost of close to Rs 45.19 crore. These jammers will be used during the movement of VVIPs in hyper-sensitive areas. It’s a very important vehicle-mounted jammer, required for convoy movement,” a senior government official told News18. “The vehicles will be used as per the threat perception of VVIPs, and also in those areas where the number of cases of use of explosives has been high in the past few months. Various states have these vehicles but the Centre decided not to depend on state infrastructure for the protection of dignitaries.”
What are RCIED jammer vehicles?
RCIED jammers are a key system to address threats from improvised explosive devices. The vehicle-mounted jammers protect surroundings up to a few hundred metres from IED blasts by blocking the specific radio frequency required to trigger an explosion. Such vehicles can easily be noticed during the movement of the Prime Minister and the President as they have multiple vehicle-mounted antennas.
Threat getting bigger
This year’s biggest worry for security forces in Jammu and Kashmir is 2021 data on attacks involving improvised explosive devices, their seizures, and their rampant use by terrorists. According to official data, jihadists have started adopting the Naxal strategy of planting IEDs to target soldiers, especially since the 2019 Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
Government data reveals that there is a rise in IED attacks in J&K by terrorists along with a rise in seizures of the devices, instances of IEDs being disposed of by security forces, and personnel being killed in attacks with these explosives, etc.
According to an analysis done by the NSG bomb data centre on IEDs, 132 blasts took place across the country in 2021 in which 80 people were killed.
What is an IED?
IEDs are prepared from multiple electrical components, including a switch, an initiator, a charge, a power source, and a container. US Homeland Security says that IEDs may be surrounded by or packed with additional materials or “enhancements”, such as nails, glass, or metal fragments designed to increase the amount of shrapnel propelled by the explosion. Enhancements may also include other elements such as hazardous materials. An IED can be initiated by a variety of methods depending on the intended target.