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No Unmanned Aircraft System Allowed Within 15 Miles Of International Borders: Indian Ministry

The Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021 are applicable to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for civilian purposes. 

NEW DELHI — The Indian government has said that no Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) shall be allowed to fly within 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the international border, including the Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC), and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), on Aug. 5.

Replying to a question regarding the regulation of drones, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V.K. Singh informed the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament, that Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 have been notified on March 12, 2021.

“The rules cover the various aspects of drone usage viz, registration, ownership, transfer, import, operation of drone traffic management, payment of fees and penalties, etc.,” said the Civil Aviation Minister’s reply. 

“All civilian drone activities are regulated by the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021.” 

The Minister also said that the provisions of Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021 are applicable to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for civilian purposes, including professional videography. 

The operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for defense purposes is not covered under Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021.

The Lok Sabha witnessed a round of questions regarding the recent drone attacks in the international border states and Union Territories like Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and Arunachal Pradesh. 

“As per Rule 37(2)(e) under Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021, no Unmanned Aircraft System shall be flown within 25 kilometers from the international border which includes Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC), and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL),” said Singh. 

“As per Rule 37(3) of the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021, use of drones in restricted areas is permissible only after the approval of the Central Government, in exceptional circumstances.”

A team of National Investigation Agency has been formed to look into the recent drone attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. 

The ministry further said in order to counter the threat of non-compliant drones in the country, necessary Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been issued on May 10, 2019, by the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

The SOP includes measures to be taken by the Central and State Governments in consultation with security agencies. 

The Indian government recently released the new draft of the national policy on drones. The  Drone Rules 2021 will replace the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules 2021. 

Approvals have been abolished for several things such as unique authorization number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, operator permits, student remote pilot license, remote pilot instructor authorization, and drone port authorization, among others, as per the new draft rules.

The maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 has been reduced to INR 1 lakh ($1,340). 

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Praveen Pramod Tewari