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Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas

Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas

INTRODUCTION

  • India has 15,106.7 km. of land border and a coastline of 7,516.6 km. including island territories. The length of the land borders with neighbouring countries is as under:
  • Security challenges in Border areas arise due to conflicting claims, porous borders, cross-border hostile activities etc. Along border areas, India faces security challenges like, cross-border terrorism, insurgency, drug trafficking, human trafficking, arms trade, trade of counterfeit currencies.
  • Securing the country’s borders against interests hostile to the country and putting in place systems that are able to interdict such elements while facilitating legitimate trade and commerce are among the principal objectives of border management.
  • The proper management of borders, which is vitally important for national security, presents many challenges and includes coordination and concerted action by administrative, diplomatic, security, intelligence, legal, regulatory and economic agencies of the country to secure the frontiers and subserve its best interests.

SECURITY CHALLENGES IN BORDER AREAS

India faces many challenges in border areas,

  • Border Conflicts
  • Increased Cross border terrorism
  • Illegal migration
  • Separatist movements aided and abetted by external powers
  • Infiltration- Expansionist policy of the neighbours (China)
  • Left-wing extremism
  • Inflow of Counterfeit Currencies
  • Illegal trade and commerce
  • Arms trade
  • Drug trafficking
  • Nexus between narcotics and arms smugglers
  • Human trafficking
  • Support to illegal activities
  • Safe heaven to criminals
  • Infiltration and ex-filtration of armed militants
  • Emergence of non-state actors

BORDER MANAGEMENT:

  • Due to the proclivity of India’s neighbours to exploit India’s nation building difficulties, the country’s internal security challenges are inextricably linked with border management.
  • Also, the challenge of coping with long-standing territorial and boundary disputes with China and Pakistan, combined with porous borders along some of the most difficult terrain in the world, has made extremely effective and efficient border management mandatory.
  • Looking into this aspect, the Department of Border Management was created in the Ministry of Home Affairs in January, 2004 to pay focused attention to the issues relating to management of international land and coastal borders, strengthening of border policing & guarding, creation of infrastructure like roads, fencing & flood lighting along borders and implementation of Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
  • As a part of the strategy to secure the borders as also to create infrastructure in the border areas of the country, several initiatives have been taken including construction of fencing, floodlighting and roads along Indo-Pakistan and Indo-­Bangladesh borders, development of Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) at various locations on the international borders of the country and construction of roads along Indo-China and Indo- Nepal borders.
  • In addition, various developmental works in the border areas have been undertaken by the Department under the BADP as a part of the comprehensive approach to border management.
  • In order to curb infiltration, smuggling and other anti-national activities from across Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders, the Government have undertaken the work of construction of fencing, flood lighting and roads along these borders.

Development of Integrated Check Posts (ICPs)

  • Good border management is mandated by India’s security concerns and, therefore, it is necessary to install systems which address these concerns while also facilitating trade and commerce.
  • There are several designated entry and exit points on the international border of the country through which cross border movement of persons, goods and traffic takes place. The need to redress this situation was recognized by all agencies concerned. One of the measures that was agreed upon is to set-up ICPs at major entry points on our land borders.
  • These ICPs would house all regulatory agencies like Immigration, Customs, border security, etc together with support facilities like parking, warehousing, banking, hotels etc. in a single complex equipped with all modern facilities.
  • Accordingly, the Government has decided to set-up ICPs at 13 locations on Indo-­Pakistan, Indo-Nepal, Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Myanmar borders as a plan scheme under the 11th Five Year Plan.

Indo-Bangladesh Border

  • The Indian side of the Indo-Bangladesh border passes through West Bengal (2,216.7 km.), Assam (263 km.), Meghalaya (443 km.), Tripura (856 km.) and Mizoram (318 km.). The entire stretch consists of plains, riverine belts, hills and jungles.
  • The area is heavily populated and is cultivated right upto the border. The Indo-Bangladesh border is marked by a high degree of porosity and checking illegal cross border activities has been a major challenge. The main problem is of illegal migration from Bangladesh into India.
  • In order to prevent illegal immigration and other anti-national activities from across the border, the Government of India had sanctioned the construction of border roads and fencing in two phases.
  • There already exist 802 BOPs on Indo- Bangladesh border. In order to reduce the inter-BOP distance for effective border management, a proposal for construction of additional 383 BOPs has been approved by the Govt in 2009, of which the construction will be completed.

Indo-Pakistan Border (IPB)

  • India shares 3,323 km. [including Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) sector] of its land border with Pakistan. This border runs along the States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and J&K.
  • The Indo-Pakistan border has varied terrain and distinct geographical features. This border is characterized by attempts of infiltration by terrorists and smuggling of arms, ammunition and contraband, the LoC being the most active and live portion of the border.
  • There already exist 609 BOPs on Indo- Bangladesh border. In order to reduce the inter-BOP distance for effective border management, a proposal for construction of additional 126 BOPs has been approved by the Govt in 2009, of which the construction will be completed.

Indo-Nepal Border

  • In order to check anti-national activities and to improve the security on the India-Nepal border, which is an open and porous border, battalions of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) have been deployed as the Border Guarding Force (BGF). 450 Border Out Posts (BOPs) have been established on Indo-Nepal border.
  • Bilateral mechanisms in the form of Home Secretary-level talks and Joint Working Group at the level of Joint Secretaries exist between the two countries. There is a mechanism of Border District Coordination Committee at the level of district officials of the two countries.
  • These mechanisms serve as platforms for discussing issues of mutual concern like containing cross-border crimes, smuggling, situation arising out of terrorist activities, etc. at national and regional/local levels.

Indo-Bhutan border | Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas

  • To improve the security environment along this border, 13 battalions of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) have been deployed as the Border Guarding Force.
  • Out of a total 132 BOPs sanctioned, 131 BOPs have been established on Indo-Bhutan border so far. A Secretary level bilateral mechanism in the shape of an India-Bhutan Group on Border Management and Security is in existence.
  • This mechanism has proved to be very useful in assessing threat perception of the two countries from groups attempting to take advantage of this open border and in discussing ways of improving the security environment in border areas.

Indo-China Border

  • To redress the situation arising out of poor road connectivity which has hampered the operational capability of the border guarding forces deployed along the India-China border, the Government had decided to undertake phase-wise construction of 27 roads totaling 804 km in the border areas along the India-China border in the States of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh for operational use by Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

Indo-Myanmar Border

  • India shares a 1,643 km. long border with Myanmar. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram are the States, which share the border with Myanmar.
  • Assam Rifles has been deployed for counter-insurgency and border guarding role on this border. Out of sanctioned strength of 46 battalions, 31 battalions are for counter­insurgency and 15 battalions are for border guarding role.
  • Presently, all 15 border guarding battalions are deployed along Indo-Myanmar border on Company Operating Base (COB) approach. The companies are deployed on all routes of ingress/egress and are checking infiltration, smuggling of arms, ammunition, drugs, fake Indian currency notes, etc.
  • India and Myanmar share an unfenced border of 1,643 km. adjoining the North-Eastern States of Arunachal Pradesh (520 km.), Nagaland (215 km.), Manipur (398 km.) and Mizoram (510 km.) and permit a Free Movement Regime upto 16 km across the border.
  • This makes the International Border extremely porous. The border runs along hilly and inhospitable terrain which grossly lacks basic infrastructure and provides cover to the activities of various Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs).
  • The unfenced Indo-Myanmar border with free movement regime is thus being exploited by various Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs). In order to check the problem of increased militant activities in the Indo-Myanmar border area, the Government of India has initiated action to fence the area between BP No. 79 to 81 on the Indo-Myanmar Border.

BORDER AREA DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME | Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas

  • The Border Area Development Programme (BADP) is part of the comprehensive approach to the Border Management with focus on socioeconomic development of the border areas and to promote a sense of Security amongst the people living there.
  • The programme was started during the 7th Plan with the objective of balanced development of sensitive border areas in the western region through adequate provision of infrastructural facilities.
  • The programme has been subsequently extended to States bordering Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Bhutan and Nepal and it now covers 358 border blocks of 94 districts of seventeen (17) States, which share international land border with neighbouring countries. BADP is a 100% centrally funded programme.
  • The main objective of the programme is to meet the special developmental needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the International border.
  • The schemes/works like construction/maintenance of roads, water supply, education, sports, filling gaps in infrastructure, security, organization of early childhood care and education centre, education for physically handicapped and backward Sections etc. are being undertaken under the BADP. Preference is given to the villages/habitations which are closer to the border line.

LAND PORTS AUTHORITY OF INDIA — LPAI

  • A Statutory Authority called ‘Land Ports Authority of India’ (LPAI) has been set up to oversee and regulate the construction, management and maintenance of the ICPs.
  • The LPAI is envisaged to function as an autonomous agency under the Department of Border Management.
  • The LPAI is envisaged as a lean, oversight body aimed at providing better administration and cohesive management of  cross-border movement of people and goods.
  • It would be vested with powers on the lines of similar bodies like the Airports Authority of India. Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas

 

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