Drones, which are being considered a major security risk as they could be used by terror groups for mounting assaults, have been included in the prohibited list and flyers entering India will have to declare them from April 1. The government has decided to revise ‘Indian Customs Declaration Form’ to include drones in the list of prohibited and dutiable goods and made it mandatory for the passengers to declare. Also Read - Ola to offer free oxygen concentrators to the needyAlso Read - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Long-term Review
Drones are generally imported by government agencies for use by the security personnel in maintaining law and order as well as ensuring vigil along the international borders and line of control with Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. They have also been used for surveillance in Naxal-hit areas. The need for all flyers to fill the customs form upon their arrival has been done away with and those who carry dutiable or prohibited goods alone will have to fill it in, as per the new rules.
Earlier this year, security agencies were advised to keep a close eye on drones in Delhi and neighboring states ahead of Republic Day celebrations on January 26. In October last year a foreigner rang alarms when he was spotted flying a drone in the vicinity of the Indian parliament. Goa too banned drones in December last year citing security fears. A brief ban on drones was imposed in Mumbai as well last year. Another man was detained in Chennai last January when he lost control of his drone, which landed in a neighboring hotel’s terrace.
In 2014, India had banned the use of civilian drones in the absence of any set policy. However, it seems the ban wasn’t completely enforced. India is not the only country to be alarmed about increasing use of drones by ordinary citizens. Last year the US passed a law that required owners to register their drones with the FAA. In Japan, security agencies demonstrated a drone with a net attached to it, which could capture rogue drones.
With additional inputs.