Drone regulations in India

As there is currently no legislation on drones in India, flying is completely prohibited until appropriate regulations are in place, according to an announcement from October 2014.

Subject: Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)/ Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Civil Applications

Of late, lots of interests are being shown for civil use (both commercial and recreational) of UAS in the country. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is yet to publish Standards And Recommended Practices (SARPs), as far as certification and operation of civil use of UAS is concerned.

UAS has potential for large number of civil applications. However, its use besides being a safety issue, also poses security threat. The Airspace over cities in India has high density of manned aircraft traffic. Due to lack of regulation, operating procedures/ standards and uncertainty of the technology, UAS poses threat for air collisions and accidents.

The civil operation of UAS will require approval from the Air Navigation Service provider, defence, Ministry of Home Affairs, and other concerned security agencies, besides the DGCA.

DGCA is in the process of formulating the regulations (and globally harmonize those) for certification & operation for use of UAS in the Indian Civil Airspace. Till such regulations are issued, no non government agency, organization, or an individual will launch a UAS in Indian Civil Airspace for any purpose whatsoever.

The above is for strict compliance. To the source

Meanwhile, a draft is still put into circulation, but the authorities are disputing about the responsibilities currently. A typical example of the debilitating Indian bureaucracy. I would not expect that this condition improves in the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, a DJI Phantom 4 was taken away from a reader of our blog by the entry at the airport in Ahemdabad. Supposedly, there is an import ban for complete India. For the existence of such a prohibition I have found no other sources, but I strongly advise against entering India with a multicopter.

We ourselves were with a DJI Phantom 2 in India in 2015. At that time the statements were very different from various sources. If you would like to try to travel to India with a copter, you should refrain from flying at famous landmarks. For example, the Taj Mahal is under special military observation. A drone flight will give you many “spectators in uniform”. It is somewhat more relaxed e.g. in Hampi (Karnataka), where our first drone video came into being.

We have researched the listed drone regulations for India to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the Indian aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in India!

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