The government has decided to scrap 50 wireless interception units that are maintained by the Border Security Force (BSF) along the International Border with Pakistan and Bangladesh, and modernise its surveillance mechanisms.
The decision was taken after security forces found that militants from Pakistan were rarely using wireless sets, and had moved on to more secure and encrypted modes of communication. “The use of cellphones by militants to communicate has also come down. Off-air interception machines mean large investments but not the desired results,” a senior government official told The Indian Express.
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The wireless interception units, called Electronic Field Stations, were set up after the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971. They pick up wireless communication and chatter between militant organisations and infiltrators, officials said. However, militant groups are now relying on the Internet rather than wireless sets, and using Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype.
After the scrapping of EFS units, about 2,000 BSF staff will undergo training, sources said. “They will be trained on how to utilise the Internet for mounting surveillance and generating intelligence,” a senior BSF official told The Indian Express.