Improve technology to detect IEDs – on Left Wing Extremism

Source– The post is based on the article “Improve technology to detect IEDs” published in “The Indian Express” on 8th May 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Security

Relevance– Issues related to Maoism

News– Ten jawans and a civilian driver, who were returning in a van following an anti­Maoist operation, were killed in a blast caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Chhat-

tisgarh’s Dantewada on April 26.

What IED use by Maoists is a challenge for security forces?

IEDs are among the most potent tools deployed by the Maoists. Even a small formation of the Maoists can cause huge damage to the security forces by using an IED.

The technical equipment used by the security forces to detect IEDs has its limitations. If the quantity of metal in the IED is low or the IED is planted deep under the road, mine detectors may fail to find it.

Hundreds of IEDs are detected and diffused every year. But, the search party could always miss a few due to technical reasons.

Ground Penetrating radar, which can detect recent disturbances in the soil subsurface, has also not proved successful.

What are issues with the use of IED by Maoists?

The Maoists deliberately and grossly violate international humanitarian laws. The use of landmines is banned internationally as they are non­discriminatory, lack precision and cause unnecessary or excessive suffering.

It is well known that in addition to the security forces, many civilians, including children, and animals have also been victims of IED attacks.

What are the changed tactics used by Maoists regarding use of IED?

The latest reports indicate that the current focus of the Maoists is to intensify the use of booby traps, and remote IEDs. The technical department of the Maoists seems to have gradually developed technology to remotely blast the IEDs.

There is disrespect of the Maoists even for slain jawans. In January 2013, during the autopsy of a jawan, an IED was found implanted as a booby trap inside the abdomen.

India is a signatory to the Geneva and Hague Conventions which regulate the means employed during warfare, so that casualties are checked.

What is the way forward to manage the threats of use of IEDs by Maoists?

The use of technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles and drones may be useful to check suspicious movement. But, the security forces need to improve their tactics too.

The use of vehicles should be permitted only after securing the road from ambushes and IEDs.

A visual search must be carried out cautiously or up to about 100­-150 metres on both sides of the road, to check the presence of suspicious elements or wire ends. Every effort needs to be made to detect, diffuse or avoid these brutal devices.

India must raise the issue of the use of IEDs by the Maoists at appropriate international platforms so that the Maoists are forced to respect international humanitarian laws and stop using these devices.

Central government and industry must join hands to improve technology to detect IEDs. The details printed on boxes containing detonators are not sufficient to trace the source of the detonators and punish the guilty.

The Central government must amend rules and make the manufacturers accountable for unique identifi­cation of detonators.

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