Government junks border wall plan
The government has given up its proposed border wall plan along the Pakistan border. The wall that was originally envisaged as a barrier against cross border infiltration of terrorist.
The project was initiated by the government in 2013 after twin attacks took place in the Jammu and Kashmir. The proposal was to create a 179-km wall along the International border in Jammu.
There have been regular incidents of infiltration, cross border smuggling of goods, narcotics and fake Indian currency.
Status of our borders with Pakistan:
India initially fenced and floodlit the Punjab border with Pakistan. The Rajasthan-Pakistan border was fenced and floodlit by 1999. The challenge remains along the LoC in J&K and the unfenced Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. It is even proposed to shift fencing closer to the border in certain stretches in Punjab as farmer’s face problems in cultivating their land.
Terrorist have been using explosives to create gaps in border fencing. They also dig tunnels under the fence. In addition, large sections of the fence are destroyed due to avalanches and snowfall.
Opposition to the proposal:
The proposed wall was opposed by Pakistan which raised the issue in the UN security council accusing India of converting a working boundary into a quasi-international boundary.
Issues with the proposed wall:
- The proposal was opposed by the army as it would act as an impediment to forward movement during military operations.
- The International Border being densely populated has large tracts of fertile agrarian land and people were not willing to give up their land.
- Geographically unfeasible due to physical barriers as it falls in the riverine belt
There is an urgent need for smart borders:
- Use of Unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance
- 24x7 satellite surveillance along our borders with both China and Pakistan
- Solar panels and rechargeable batteries to support extensive floodlighting
- Modern electronic surveillance that help detect even small movements
- Night vision devices and hand held thermal imagers
- Strengthening border infrastructure which include all weather roads and establishing Integrated check posts along the border
- Following the principle of one border one force
The Home Ministry is now working on a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) for 24X7 surveillance. The government would depend on technological solutions such as a smart fence which will act as a virtual fence instead of building a border wall.
Currently a pilot project is under way, which includes an integrated system of human resources, sensors, networks, intelligence and control solutions.