The Indian government has decided to deploy “a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles” to fight maritime piracy and borders-crossing attacks, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.
The fleet will be equipped with surveillance and communications systems to track ships and intercept vessels that try to cross India’s coastline.
The move comes amid the government’s focus on countering piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Indian-held part of the Indo-Pacific.
The defence minister said the fleet, which will be armed with a large number of surveillance and communication systems, will be capable of intercepting ships in a maritime area of less than 2,000 nautical miles.
In 2016, India was the first country in the world to deploy a fleet of such unmanned aerial systems (UAVs).
The move is part of a larger push to shore up the country’s maritime security in the wake of a series of maritime terror attacks that left more than 100 people dead.
India has deployed unmanned aerial aircraft to combat border crossings and piracy in a bid to curb the flow of illegal goods and people from Pakistan and Bangladesh.