The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is deploying the latest technology to ensure the safety and security of its troops in field operations, particularly in Maoist-affected areas. It has already been monitoring the movement of its personnel in remote areas and deep jungles through global positioning system (GPS), while using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to track the location and movement of Maoists.

India’s largest paramilitary force is also in the process of acquiring the latest equipment and machinery to detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that cause maximum casualties in the force. “Initially our personnel were not very comfortable with their location and movement being tracked by us, but we managed to convince them it was for their own good,” a senior CRPF officer said.

“Through GPS monitoring, we now know their exact location and can reach them in case of an emergency even if they are incommunicado. It is also helping us to alert our troops, thereby giving us tactical advantage over our enemy. And if they face any attack, it will help us provide them immediate reinforcements, besides medical aid and rations,” the officer noted.

Though GPS monitoring is being used by the CRPF in select areas in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the paramilitary force wants to deploy this technology in all its field operations, particularly in nine left wing extremism (LWE)-affected States where it is engaged in a tough battle with Maoists. “This technology has given us a big advantage as we can now plan our operations effectively and precisely by sitting in our headquarters,” the officer added.

Similarly, deployment of UAVs in the LWE-affected areas has also started showing results as these devices are able to pick up ground conversation and movement of Maoists. “Our personnel are now able to comb areas and carry out operations more effectively in Maoist strongholds, particularly in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. UAVs flash real-time imagery of Maoist movements and conversation; the data is immediately passed on to our CoBRA commandos for necessary action. In our future operations, UAVs are going to play an important role in strategising our plans,” the officer added.

The CRPF is also hunting for the latest devices that help in detecting IEDs. As per the latest data, over two-third of CRPF jawans die in IED explosions during operations. This year, so far 30 jawans have died due to IED blasts. “Efforts are on to acquire modern devices that detect IEDs even from long distances. IEDs have always been a big challenge not only for us but for all security forces as their nature keeps changing. So there is an urgent need to have better equipment to meet this threat,” the officer added.