The External Affairs Minister recently stated that India is developing border infrastructure and connectivity with friendly neighbours due to China concerns.
GS-II International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- Key points:
- Data on Strategic infrastructure:
- Challenges in the different sector of border areas:
- Measures required for border management:
- India’s connectivity projects with Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar have been accelerated due to its “obvious” concerns about the frontier with China.
- A number of infrastructure projects along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has also been quickened as part of India’s border connectivity efforts with “friendly neighbours” who share land borders with India, except Pakistan.
- These projects enhance trade, energy and other people-to-people exchanges.
Data on Strategic infrastructure:
- The length of roads constructed in the “China-border areas” during the last eight years (6806 km between 2014-2022) was nearly double the length of roads constructed in the preceding six years (3610 km between 2008-2014). The same was true for bridge construction in border areas.
- Important Achievements:
- Atal tunnel: The 9.02 km-long Atal tunnel has been completed. It is the world’s longest tunnel above 10,000 feet.
- Umlingla Pass: the highest motorable road over the Umlingla Pass at 19,024 feet in southern Ladakh’s Demchok area.
- In addition to these, the road, rail, bridge and port connectivity projects in the neighbourhood.
- It also includes the development and modernisation of integrated check points for smoother trade flows with Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan.
- Opening of 16 mountain passes ahead of time from previous years.
- A number of bridge and tunnel projects in Arunachal Pradesh, which was the site of the most recent India-China skirmish in Yangtse, where Chinese soldiers attempted to overrun an Indian post.
- Adopting new technologies to create year-round access to the most remote areas covered by permafrost, thus enabling strategic or military movement.
- Upcoming projects:
- The work began last month on the strategically important 135 km-long Chushul-Dungti-Fukche-Demchok road in the Ladakh region.
- In Nepal, the government has committed ₹500 crore for the construction of 10 roads totalling 306 km in the Terai region, and is working on rail links with all neighbours to India’s north and east.
- The government has also sanctioned funding for cross-border power transmission lines with Bangladesh and Nepal.
- South Asia’s first cross-border petroleum products pipeline between Motihari in India and Amlekhgunj in Nepal and another high speed diesel pipeline with Bangladesh are few prospective projects.
India shares a border with Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Securing and managing its 15,106 km long land border and 7,516 km long coastal boundary is one of India’s national priorities yet remains a major challenge for the country.
Challenges in the different sector of border areas:
- Pakistan: Cross-border terrorism and movement of armed militants and smuggling of goods and narcotics. Pathankot attack in 2016 where militants were able to successfully infiltrate the India-Pakistan border.
- Bangladesh: Illegal immigration and smuggling in the border states of Assam and Bangladesh is a major internal security challenge for India.
- China: Regular armed intrusions, and has recently been in the news due to the Doklam crisis that raised suspicions that China may have some concealed their goals in the border region. There is always a simmering tension in the North-East region esp. Arunachal Pradesh. Due to improper demarcation of border in the Aksai Chin area leaves the scope for frequent intrusion by the Chinese army personnel.
- Myanmar: ‘Golden triangle’ situated in the proximity of India-Myanmar border facilitates unrestricted illegal flows of drugs into Indian Territory e.g. border town of Moreh in Manipur is notorious for drug smuggling. Problem of vigilance due to near absence of physical barriers in the form of fence, border outposts or roads. Close ethnic ties among the tribes such as Nagas, Kukis, Chin, etc., who live astride the border help these insurgents in finding safe haven in Myanmar.
- Nepal: Terrorist organizations from Punjab, Kashmir, northeast or those of Maoists have fully exploited open borders with Nepal. In past many terrorists have sneaked into India through the porous and poorly guarded Indo-Nepal border. Wikileaks documents have revealed that the ISI has created a number of terrorist fronts in Nepal.
- Bhutan: Indian insurgent groups established camps in the Southern districts of Bhutan. Chinese made goods, Bhutanese cannabis, liquor and forest products are major items smuggled into India. Livestock, grocery items and fruits are smuggled out of India to Bhutan.
Measures required for border management:
- Border Area Development Programme (BADP): Ensuring balanced development of border areas through the development of infrastructure and promotion of wellbeing and a sense of security among the border population. The development of border areas is now viewed as a part of the comprehensive approach to the Border Management, which focuses on socio-economic development of the people and promotion of wellbeing and security environment in the border areas.
- Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS): A potential high-tech solution for border security.
- Border Infrastructure: Establishing border outposts, border trade, fencing and flood lighting, Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) etc.
- Coordination between the security forces deployed in the respective border regions.
- Hand Held Thermal Imagery (HHTI) systems, Long Range Reconnaissance Observation Systems (LORROS), and Battle Field Surveillance Radars (BFSR) that greatly enhanced the detection ability of BSF personnel.
- Unique response can be used as a tactical and counter-offensive measures e.g. Surgical Strikes in PoK region, ‘Hot Pursuits’ across the Myanmar region etc.
- Use of latest state of the art technology for better intelligence coordination among various security agencies.
-Source: The Hindu