Border management, both land and coastal, remains a big challenge
G Kishan Reddy, minister of state for home affairs, on December 16, called for integrating new technology and infrastructure to ensure a safe and smart border management system.
Speaking at ‘Smart Border Management–2019’ organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), on the theme ‘Contribution of Smart Border Towards USD5 trillion economy’, Reddy said that the government has, for the first time, initiated a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) to cover areas where physical fencing is not feasible. He said the recorded date and information can be shared with all intelligence and security forces.
“CIBMS includes integration of manpower, sensors, networks, intelligence, and command and control solutions to improve situational awareness at different levels of hierarchy to facilitate prompt and informed decisions and a quick response to emerging situations,” added Reddy. The Phase-1, a pilot project along a 61 km riverine border in Dhubri, Assam along the Indo-Bangladesh border, has been implemented. “After the evaluation of Phase-1, subsequently Phase-2 and Phase-3 of the CIBMS will be rolled out in Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and West Bengal,” said Reddy.
The technology will cover all non-visible gaps and vulnerable structures along the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders. The government, the minister said, was taking “all precautionary measures”.
The president FICCI, Sandip Somany, stressed on the fact that the government needs to make appropriate arrangements regarding the present security threat and possible future risks with respect to both land and coastal border security. “Securing and managing the borders has been a major challenge for any country as it requires to keep a balance between openness of borders for the legitimate movement of goods and people and borders’ non-porousness for all illegal activities. India being an increasingly globalised and service-oriented economy relies heavily on the movement of goods and people,” he added.
Considering India’s strategic geo-location, its economic status on the world stage and the challenges present on its frontiers, border management should be a priority for the government. The country’s large land border of about 15,106.7 km is shared with Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan, as well as a small portion with Afghanistan. Border management is an integral part of security and demands proactive intelligence, inclusion of technological advancements and coordinated action by bureaucrats, economic agencies, security personnel and other related stakeholders of the nation to safeguard the borders against any threat.
At the event, a galaxy of professionals from the industry and government deliberated on the advantages offered by smart borders and how secure borders could ensure prosperity back home. Maj. Gen. Dhruv C Katoch, Director, India Foundation, said that a USD5 trillion economy was an ambitious task set by the Prime Minister of India. Many initiatives are required to achieve this target and one amongst them is managing our borders in an efficient and effective manner.
A FICCI-EY (Ernst & Young) report on the subject highlights the fact that smart border management should aim at facilitating efficient and secure movement of people and goods between India and other countries while controlling the menace of illegal activities on our frontiers without increasing the burden on the border guarding forces. This can be achieved by using modern technologies customised to the Indian environment and users should ensure better border security controls, smarter electronic surveillance systems to effectively detect, categorise, identify, prevent and deter threats, improved tools and processes for the forces to respond quickly and effectively to any potential threat and enhanced coordination between multiple agencies and stakeholders for an integrated and sophisticated smart border management.
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