Pakistan Rangers using thermal suits to avoid detection, target BSF

The heightened surveillance and border paroling by the Indian security forces may have compelled the Pakistan Rangers (Pakistani border troops) to devise new ways to avoid detection and take aim at their Indian counterparts. According to the inputs gathered by the intelligence agencies, the officials of Pakistan Rangers are now relying on ‘heat-resistant dress’ to avoid detection by the Thermal Imaging Devices installed by the Border Security Force (BSF) to keep an eye on any suspicious activity from across the international border.
The Pakistan Rangers may be using ‘thermal camouflage suits’ to avoid detection by BSF’s night vision devices, the reports said. This has come to light after a BSF jawan was killed along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir in an indiscriminate firing by the Pakistan Rangers on May 18.

This “disturbing” first-time instance has rattled the BSF and the Army which is responsible for ensuring security at the International Border between India and Pakistan and the un-fenced Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. Twenty-eight-year-old Constable Sitaram Yadav of the 192nd battalion of the Border Security Force (BSF) was shot with a precise close-range aim by either a militant or Special Service Group (SSG) trooper from the Pakistani side at about 1:30 am on May 18, the intelligence agencies said. The 192nd Battalion mans a forward post along the IB in the RS Pora region of Jammu and Kashmir.

A scrutiny of the local Hand-Held Thermal Imager (HHTI) showed that a very-grained black shadow like movement was recorded on the monitor and it came very close to the BSF post and fired shots, that is suspected to have hit the jawan leading to his death, the electronic surveillance report said.

However, the HHTI, deployed in the border areas for night vision and surveillance, could not clearly pick the black shadow of an approaching man as he might be wearing a ‘thermal camouflage suit’ that insulates the body heat of a person, the report said. HHTI picks up the body heat signatures of a living being – a human or an animal – and creates a silhouette that helps the BSF and the Army to check infiltration bids and attacks on their posts in the dead of the night.

“The electronic surveillance of the incident is being analysed and nothing can be ruled out. It could be a new camouflage overall that the Pakistani side is using to take a close aim and hit Indian troops at the border or it could also be an indigenous way of wearing a wet-sack like clothing to evade the HHTI radar,” a senior officer in the security establishment was quoted as saying. The officer said that this “menacing stealth operation”– carried out either by terrorists, the SSG or Pak Rangers – is a worrying development and is being investigated thoroughly. ”There are such thermal camouflage or insulation suits available across the globe that are used for such tactical and surprise attacks on the enemy and before anything is conclusively said, all aspects of this latest development have to be studied as it concerns border security,” the officer added