The management of Indian Border Control is a risky subject. The former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, once said, “We can choose our friends, but not our neighbours.” India, which is one of the fastest developing countries of the world, is on friendly terms with most of the countries.
Although India has strictly followed the policy of Non-alignment ever since she achieved freedom, and has since not belonged to any military alliance or been part of any secret treaties, she still maintains a close strategic and military relationship with most of fellow major powers. Some of her closest allies include the Russian Federation, Israel, France, the United States of America, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
All these friends prove to be very helpful in all times of crisis or otherwise to India. But the fact remains that India’s neighbours are in fact, geographically closer to her than her friends.
And some of India’s bordering countries, although claim to only uphold their personal best interests, share an atmosphere of suspicion and hostility with her, especially Pakistan and China, who we are not currently at war with, but with whom we are mutually suspicious. This is why the management of the border control of India is imperative and risky.
India and her Neighbours, and the Importance of Borders
India has several many neighbours – Bangladesh in the East, Bhutan in the North, China in the North, Myanmar in the East, Nepal in the North, Pakistan in the North-west and Sri Lanka in the South. India shares her border with all of these countries, with carrying lengths of land in common, in addition to a little stretch of land in the North which is shared with Afghanistan.
If you and your family come from a village and you are on good terms with your neighbours, you will understand how invaluable the friendship with your neighbours is. Your neighbour will share food, gifts, and other products with you when you are in any critical situation.
He will help maintain your security, and you would reciprocate all of these things. Even when you are not physically present in your house, or when some robber comes to invade your house, your neighbours will keep a watchful eye and help you out of the terrible situation. However, if you are on a bad terms with your neighbour, he will not call the robber to attention, or in fact, might even go so far as to aid the robber, and cover up his tracks.
This is why it is so important to maintain good relationships and be on good terms with both our neighbours as well as our neighbouring countries.
What is a border? Well, a border can be understood as a divider of jurisdiction between two or more nations. When it comes to borders, India shares as little as 0.1 kilometres of border with Sri Lanka, whereas the longest border is shared with Bangladesh, which stretches up to 4096.7 kilometres.
India’s boundary with Pakistan stretches 3323 kilometres, with China stretches 3488 kilometres, with Nepal stretches 1751 kilometre, with Bhutan it stretches 699 kilometres, and with Myanmar it stretches 1643 kilometres. A total of 15, 106.8 kilometres is the border areas of India shared with other countries.
There are some borders which have been naturally built, also called maritime boundaries, such as the Tigris River which separates Iran and Turkey, or the Amur River which separates Russia and China and on the other hand, there are other borders which are politically created. Most of the borders of India are political ones.
These borders are not simply lines drawn randomly. For example, consider that you and your neighbour are caught in the midst of a bad quarrel, and you only seem to be fighting the whole day long. As a solution, you draw a line to separate your house and your neighbour’s house, and the both of you make a deal to not enter the other side without permission.
But that night, your neighbour, who is still upset and wants revenge, steps over the line silently and enters your house, and damages your property.
In this analogy, you and your neighbour symbolises India and any of her neighbouring countries. The line is the border. The neighbour can easily step over the border because it is not protected, nor are there any barriers kept.
Borders are not just drawing lines on a paper. It includes drawing the line on the physical land and then enforcing and protecting the territory that is included by the line. Here is where the management of border control comes in.
Challenges of the management of Border Control and the Solutions to be applied
There are several issues and challenges posed on the subject of border control. Our border forces appear to be severely undermanned and under-equipped which is taking heavy toll on economic, social and political stability of our country. Some of the issues that India faces almost daily include illegal immigration, smuggling of cattle, smuggling of narcotics and counterfeiting of Indian currency, among many other problems.
The most important political concern is that there are large stretches of porous and unprotected land. These stretches of land are used to send in terrorists, arms, drugs, and infiltrators schooled in religious extremism.
There is also an inadequacy in police forces, both in trained manpower and effective equipment. In addition to this, there is a lack of coordination amongst the agencies operating across the borders, such as the Border Security Force (BSF), and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Also, we cannot forget the problem of cultural, ethnic and linguistic affinity across borders and clan loyalties. There are some illicit demarcations of borders too, especially along the India and Bangladesh border which is also known as the International Border. In summation, there is almost a never ending list of challenges and problems at the border control areas.
These problems can be solved using five steps, or rather methods. All of these points should be carefully contemplated and developed by the government of India. These are:
- Setting up multiple integrated and well-manned check posts at every border area.
- Setting up and organizing multiple border area development programs.
- Creating a comprehensive integrated border management system, which has surveillance for every minute of every hour, of every day of every year. Seeing as our technology has been developed so much, this step should be easy, yet has not been done as of yet.
- Developing the fencing and floodlight system of all border areas.
- Setting up an agreement on the basic guiding principles and standard operating procedures at borders.
All in all, it is absolutely essential to guard our borders and enforce the rules so as to keep our country safe.
To conclude, we have ascertained that a well-planned strategy is required to address border issues so as to prevent further radicalisation. Border management is a very complex task in nature as it demands coordination and concentrated action between different agencies of any nation.
One more step that the government can work on is the development of population at border areas. At the current state of affairs, most of the borders are remote and distant, with no population at all. When there is activity buzzing around, the chances of infiltration will considerably reduce. This is necessary to keep the borders of India completely safe and secure.
India has been doing very well in border management as of recent news and has foiled more than just a few infiltration activities. In fact, India is in the process of installing an excellent laser system at the Indo-Pak border and is now using technology with infrared sensors to detect any movement across or around her borders. Despite all of this, she still needs to invest more to make her borders completely fool proof.