Citing BSF data, the officials said that out of 200 drone sightings between July and December, 176 were recorded in these four districts.
Of the 22 drones brought down by BSF this year, 21 were in these districts – up from one last year.
BSF is deployed along the international border with Pakistan in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
Punjab has 23 districts and shares borders with J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan. Besides Punjab, the drones were sighted in Rajasthan’s Sriganganagar, Bikaner and Jaisalmer (North), the officials said, adding that August and September recorded the most activity in the year from across the border.
BSF, along with industry experts and institutes, has also taken up a study to ascertain flight paths and origins of drones that were brought down. From 2020 to 2022, as many as 369 drone sightings were recorded in Punjab, with 47 of them in 2020, 64 in 2021 and 258 in 2022 till December 23, as per the data available with the BSF.
Last year on June 26, two drones carrying explosives crashed into the Jammu air force station, damaging a building and injuring two airmen.
Besides narcotics, BSF seized arms ammunition, tiffin bombs and AK-47 pistols being ferried by these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
BSF is also giving incentives to its personnel for sighting and shooting of drones, while the government of Punjab has provided more than 300 personnel to monitor drones along the border.
Punjab shares a 553-km-long border with Pakistan. Smuggling of narcotics into Punjab using land routes is a major concern for the law enforcement agencies.
In October last, the home ministry said BSF can carry out search and seizure operations up to 50 km from the border – up from 15 km earlier – in three states that share international boundaries with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“These drones are being used to smuggle drugs and weapons into the Indian side, apart from conducting aerial surveillance,” said a senior official. “They have emerged as a security threat, especially in border areas of the state. We have proposed to acquire anti-drone technology by collaborating with agencies like DRDO and NTRO.”