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RSTV In Depth: Border Surveillance
(PRELIMS: Current events of national and international importance
MAINS: GENERAL STUDIES III – Security challenges and their management in border areas)
India’s land border covers around 15,106 km sharing boundaries with Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Varied terrains, climatic conditions and hostile neighbours make its borders complex and border management an important part of its security. Home Minister, Rajnath Singh inaugurated the electronic border surveillance project on 5th March 2019 along the India-Bangladesh border.
International borders of India:
- The Northern borders of India are defined by Himalayan mountain range.
- The Western border contains mainly the Thar desert.
- The border with Bangladesh Khasi and Mizo hills and regions defined by River Ganga and Brahmaputra.
- Mountains in the Northern part consist mainly ice while those in the North-East may be deeply forested.
- The total coastline of India is about 7500 km along the Indian Ocean that connects it to various nations in its southern part. These include Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan Thailand, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Safeguarding the borders of India:
- Effective border management requires proper planning and measures that safeguard India’s frontiers and safeguard it from the risks involved in the movement of goods and people across the borders.
- Smart border management with technological solutions is a step towards improving border security.
- Central Armed Police Forces including Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), etc and Indian Army are responsible for securing India’s international borders.
- The maritime borders of India that are recognised as per United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea are secured by the Indian Navy.
- All states in India except Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Delhi and Haryana have an international border or a coastline.
New electronic surveillance project along Indo-Bangladesh border:
- Bangladesh shares 4,096 km of international border with India which are guarded by Border Security Force (BSF) on the Indian side.
- A new electronic surveillance was inaugurated by Rajnath Singh in Dhubri district of Assam. This 61 km long border is formed mainly by Brahmaputra river and consist of vast char lands and various river channels makes border surveillance a tough task.
- A char is a tract of land surrounded by the waters of an ocean, sea, lake or stream.
- The project is called BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated Quick response team Interception Technique) under CIBMS (Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System).
- Wide range of electronic gadgets have been installed along the Indo-Bangladesh border in the Dhubri district of Assam.
- This consists of Microwave communication, OFC (Optical Fibre) cables, DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) communication, day and night surveillance cameras, and intrusion detection systems. These modern gadgets provide feedback to BSF control rooms and enables Quick Reaction Teams to prevent any possibility of Illegal Cross Border Crossings/ Crimes.
- A ‘Virtual Fence’ for human-less real-time investigation of borders is created by CIBMS. These include – infrared and laser-based intrusion alarm systems, thermal imagers, aerial surveillance, sonar and ground systems, satellite imagery, etc.
- CIBMS provides an all-weather and round the clock surveillance system.
- Round the clock surveillance is needed along the riverine border check illegal immigration, smuggling of arms & ammunition, etc.
- Using e-surveillance will save time and energy loss of security personnel in doing continuous patrolling physically.
- Some of the challenges for using CIBMS in India include –
- Operation and maintenance cost
- Lack of technical expertise
- High cost of devices
- Lack of easy availability of spare parts
- Erratic power supply
- Adverse climatic and terrain conditions.
- A mix of well-trained personnel and use of modern technological methods can yield better results.
Space technology in Border Management:
- ISRO is set to launch a satellite exclusively for Home Ministry.
- The satellite will be used for improving communication and navigation, managing security, operational planning and border management.
- The Navy and the Air Force have dedicated satellites for themselves. Now the Ministry of Home Affairs is also planning to get a satellite dedicated for their own purposes for securing India’s borders.
- These satellites will help the security forces to know any activity occurring on border with the help of satellite imagery.
Keeping a strong vigil on its border is very important for any nation to check any kind of illegal activities or intrusion through them. For India, the task becomes difficult where terrain and climate is very complex across some of its border areas. Focussing on improved technology will help in making the task easier for the security forces and make its borders more secure.
PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS
- UPSC MAINS 2017, GS III
The north-eastern region of India has been infested with insurgency for a very long time. Analyse the major reasons for the survival of armed insurgency in this region.
- UPSC MAINS 2017, GS III
The scourge of terrorism is a grave challenge to national security. What solutions do you suggest to curb this growing menace? What are the major sources of terrorist funding?
- UPSC MAINS 2016, GS III
Border management is a complex task due to difficult terrain and hostile relations with some countries. Elucidate the challenges and strategies for effective border management.