Borders in India are quite complex, with almost every type of extreme geography present, such as deserts, fertile lands, swampy marshes, or tropical evergreen jungles. Cross-border smuggling is a problem, as are drugs, cattle, humans, artefacts, and fake Indian currency notes (FICN).
Diverse influences and issues in borderlands
- Economic support for insurgents: The Golden Triangle (Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand) has provided an economic boom for insurgent groups to survive.
- Weapons availability: Another factor contributing to the persistence of insurgency in the region is the easy availability of small arms in neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Myanmar.
- Border Terrain: Difficult terrain along the border with various countries in the north east makes transportation and communication difficult, and as a result, the border area remains sparsely populated with low economic development.
- Boundary issue: Despite the fact that the international boundary between countries such as India and Myanmar was formally delimited and demarcated following the 1967 boundary agreement, the boundary has not crystallised on the ground as lines separating two sovereign countries.
o The border with China is disputed, and Kashmir has been an unresolved issue with Pakistan since independence.
- Lack of critical infrastructure: Many border areas lack critical infrastructure such as observation towers, bunkers, Border Flood Lights, and so on, preventing the deployment of high-tech equipment.
- Inadequate intelligence and resource efficiency: Due to limited intelligence capabilities and severe resource constraints, security forces are ill-equipped to handle border management.
- Ethnic conflicts and separatist movements: As a result of illegal migration, the demographic profile of many Border States has changed, as has the ethnic balance of communities.
- Overcrowding in border areas: Population density in border areas varies between 700-800 people per square km on the Indian side and 1,000 people on the Bangladesh side.
- Political instability and disorder in India’s periphery have an indirect or direct impact on its security. This security risk is exacerbated by the proxy war between India and Pakistan.
- Cross-border measures are required.
- Sensitization of people: Through long-term community interaction programmes, the border community should be encouraged to participate in the nation-building project. o Increase cultural exchanges, tourism, and people-to-people contact for South Asian countries, including the provision of work permits and visas.
- Collaboration with neighbours: International borders are best managed when neighbours work together to secure their mutual borders. Political and diplomatic initiatives must be carefully crafted in order for such cooperation to materialise.
- Strengthening Regional Forums: Regional organisations such as SAARC, BIMSTEC, and BCIM can assist in enhancing economic and security cooperation with these countries, resulting in a better understanding of the benefits of peace in North-East India.
- Effective border management through “smart borders” that ensure a quick and easy, legal flow of people and goods while maintaining a steady momentum in the process of improving infrastructure and other checkpoint facilities.
- Joint training and operations: Exercises such as “Hand in Hand” with China, “Operation Sampriti” between India and Bangladesh, and others can aid in the fight against terrorism. o Bhutan’s ‘Operation All Clear’ was a landmark operation against Assam separatist insurgent groups in the country’s southern regions.
The next step and the conclusion
- Providing adequate human resources and equipment to countries’ border forces.
- Fencing and floodlight installation
- Increasing the number of checkpoints along the border.
- Developing physical infrastructure for force movement and logistics, such as roads
- Thermal imaging technique for border personnel using night vision technology.
- Tower construction for effective eyekeeping.
- It is critical in border security to reduce the sources of funding for these illegal groups.
- Because country stability leads to the full utilisation of the country’s human resource potential, as well as economic development, peace, and prosperity, border management is a critical issue for the country’s overall development.