India’s Border Management
Feb 27, 2022
India’s Border Management
Q Why is it in News ?
A Recent developments warrant a comprehensive review of border management to ensure the all-weather security of our borders.
Q What makes India’s border management difficult?
- India shares land borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, which stretch approximately 15,106 km.
- In addition, we have an approximately 3,323 km-long LoC with Pakistan, which further extends to the rechristened 110 km stretch of “Actual Ground Position Line” (AGPL) dividing the Siachen glacier region.
- Further east, we have the 3,488 km LAC with China.
- We share maritime boundaries with Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar and Indonesia; we have a 7,683 km coastline and an approximately 2 million sq km exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
- This makes India’s task more complex than most other countries.
Q Which agencies are securing borders ?
- Complexity is accentuated by the fact that along with the army, we have multiple other security agencies — the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and the Paramilitary Forces (PMF) — sharing the responsibility.
- While the army is deployed along the LoC and AGPL, the Border Security Force (BSF) looks after the international border with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Guarding the LAC has been assigned to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Assam Rifles.
- The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) is responsible for guarding the borders with Nepal and Bhutan.
- The Assam Rifles looks after our border with Myanmar.
- In a nutshell, in addition to the army, we have four agencies guarding borders with six neighbours.
- Conversely, maritime borders are guarded by a single agency — the Coast Guard.
Q Why is there need for review of the border management ?
- There is a lack of a coherent policy on training, planning and the conduct of guarding operations among various outfits.
- Overall coordination is also affected.
- Our adversary on the western border has often escalated violations by resorting to the prolonged use of military resources.
- Chinese provocations along the LAC are military operations.
- Clearly, the peace-time scenario is now by and large militarised.
Q What can be Way forward ?
- Single security agency: In this scenario, India needs a single security agency adequately equipped, suitably armed and trained in advanced military drills and sub-unit tactics to guard our borders.
- Manpower from Army: Further, to augment the battle efficiency, a fixed percentage of manpower, including the officer cadre, should be drawn on deputation from the army.
- Paramilitary force under Ministry of Defence: To ensure the desired training and operational standards, this single security agency should be designated as a paramilitary force under the Ministry of Defence and operate under the army.
- Mergers: The ITBP and the SSB should be fully merged into the new outfit; the BSF and CRPF still have important internal security duties and can be partially merged.
- The reorganised Assam Rifles too should retain its role of conducting counter-insurgency operations and act as a reserve for the army for conventional operations.
- Most countries have raised specialised and dedicated armed bodies for border security.
- Iran has the Border Guard Command, Italy has the Border Police Service, Russia has created a Border Guard Service, whereas in the US, it is under Homeland Security.
- Most of these countries, based on threat perception and for better combat cohesion, have placed these organisations under the command of the armed forces.
- India should adopt a single agency with adequate resources and training to deal with the evolving challenges.