Geospatial technologies to help Indian army soldiers map minefields

Geospatial technologies to help Indian army soldiers map minefields

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Indian army soldiers demonstrate how they check for landmines to the media on a road, which connects India-administered Kashmir and POK.

India: Detection and disposing of mines has always been a risky affair for Army units operating along border areas. Hence, to avoid causalities, the Indian Army‘s Directorate of Combat Engineering is set to acquire GPS-based minefield recording equipment to help the army personnel during the detection and defusion of landmines.

“The new equipment will be compatible to conditions in the Indian sub-continent,” a senior army officer, who is aware of the development, told a news daily on Tuesday. “The Directorate recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) for vendors,” the officer added.

The equipment will employ both GPS and GIS. “The Army wants equipment that can record locations of mines being laid by the enemy — in varying terrain and weather. The objective is to reduce a soldier’s direct involvement in the detection and recovery of mines,” the officer said.

Army combat engineers said units have been carrying out delicate mine-clearing operations manually. “There is no full-proof system available for such operations. Casualties and injuries from mine blasts are reported regularly and anti-personnel mines have particularly proven deadlier have claimed the maximum number of deaths,” said an army combat engineer, who has served in various locations.

Engineers said several countries have been using GPS or GIS-enabled systems and added that the fresh lot of equipment needs to give out precise information. “The new system will give an edge to the engineering regiments but it must provide minute details of minefields, down to the centimetre. Only then, can it be considered a force multiplier,” an army engineer said.

Currently, the Army is clearing mines in the border districts of Jammu and Kashmir and combat engineers have been working hard to manually detect and defuse explosives. In fact, the Corps of Engineers played a crucial role in Operation Vijay during the 1999 Kargil conflict.

Units of the Indian Army have also been training soldiers of South East Asian countries in landmine clearance for the past few years.