Drones not allowed to fly within 25km of international borders including LOC, LAC: Civil Aviation Ministry
As per Rule 37(2)(e) under UAS Rules, 2021, the usage of drones in restricted areas is allowed only after the approval of the Central Government, in exceptional circumstances.
The Union Civil Aviation Ministry confirmed on August 5, 2021 that no Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) shall be allowed to fly within 25 kilometres from India's international border including the Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).
This was informed by Minister of State for Civil Aviation VK Singh in a reply to a question regarding regulation of drones in the Lok Sabha. He said that Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 have been notified on March 12, 2021.
He said that the rules cover the various aspects of the usage of drones namely their ownership, registration, transfer, import and operation of drone traffic management including payment of fees and penalties.
The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 regulate all civilian drone activities, as per the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Does the government distinguish between drones used for professional videography and UAVs for defence purposes?
Replying to this query, the Civil Aviation Ministry clarified that the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 are application to all Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for civilian purposes including professional videography.
However, the rules do not cover operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for defence purposes.
Responding to the question of whether the government proposes to regulate the usage of drones more strictly in border states and UTs like Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as compared to hinterlands and other major tourist destinations, the Civil Aviation Ministry said that as per Rule 37(2)(e) under UAS Rules, 2021, no Unmanned Aircraft System can be flown within 25 kilometre from the international border which includes Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).
As per the rule, the usage of drones in restricted areas is allowed only after the approval of the Central Government, in exceptional circumstances.
Further, the Ministry said that necessary Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) had been issued on May 10 2019 by the Home Ministry to counter the threat of non-compliant drones in the country.
The SOPs include measures to be taken by the Central and the State Governments as well, in consultation with security agencies.
The matter is being brought up as there have been cases of drone attacks at the Indian military facility at the Air Force base in Jammu Airport. There have been other suspected drone activity as well in the region.