Border Patrolling
Image source - https://bit.ly/3hmXd1m

This article is written by Shreya Tandon, a law student from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (VIPS), IP University. The article talks about strengthening border controls, cooperation across borders, and implementing law enforcement mechanisms for ensuring safety.

Introduction

In January 2004, the Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) created the Department of Border Management to look after the issues regarding- matters of international land, coastal borders, reinforcing the policies, strengthening guardian policies, and enhancing infrastructure. Some of the efforts taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Group of Ministers (GOM) are as follows-

Initiated Area

Progressive Initiatives

Roads

Proper cemented roads were conducted along the borders of Indo- Bangladesh, Indo- Pakistan, Indo- Myanmar, Indo- China, Indo- Nepal, and Indo- Bhutan.

Fencing

The borders of Indo- Myanmar, Indo- Pakistan, and Indo-Bangladesh were fenced to maintain high security.

Flood- Lightening

Construction of Flood- Lightning did along the borders of Indo- Myanmar, Indo- Pakistan, and Indo-Bangladesh.

Border Outposts(BOPs)

A total of 383 BOPs were constructed around Indo- China border and 126 on Indo- Pakistan border for Border Security Force(BSF).

Integrated Check Post(ICPs)

Integrated Check Post was set up along with the Land Ports Authority of India for ensuring proper management of administration. ICP is basically a trade centre set up on the Indo- Bangladesh border which facilitates the movement of goods and people across the border.

Other Initiatives were taken for safeguarding security across and beyond borders

Multiple coastal security schemes were introduced and high- tech surveillance types of equipment such as drones were installed.

Today, India is the most flourishing economy in the world. India touches 15, 106.7 km of its boundary with seven different nations namely, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Afghanistan. Most of these borders are artificial and do not follow any natural obstacle. The reason that India is one of the fastest economies in the world is its central location as well as the trans- Indian ocean routes which help in its growth. India’s elongated coastline and neighbouring countries make border management a vital issue to be looked upon to protect India’s sovereignty. With the responsibility comes numerous challenges that need attention. Proper planning and systematic arrangement are required for ensuring successful border management.

Apart from the customary and long-established method like targeting border security for border management is insufficient. There is a need for broadening the horizon and looking at a larger picture by not only ensuring the movement of people and goods but also turning one’s hand to look after the movement of trade, adoption of new technologies for border surveillance. A developed and proper system is demanded to exchange and store data that will further help in facilitating the movement of people and goods without hampering the security.

This article is the gist of the border management frameworks and it also includes the various case studies of Indian origin.

The need for border management

For an economy like India that is growing at such a high pace and experiencing an abundance of opportunities, there is a need for effective procedures for border management to cope up with the globalized and self- oriented world. Border management is the collateral responsibility of the country that is responsible for securing coordination within various government agencies to protect all the risks involved in the movement of people across nations. Understanding the economic benefits of systematic border management has become a challenge these days. Technology and infrastructure play a major role in overlooking geographical, sociological, and economical scenarios. The factors such as- the terrain, climatic condition, and relation with other countries also affect indirectly ensuring proper management. Technology interventions near the border can be divided into two ways-

  1. Mobilization and ordinance supply chain (including equipment, weapons, vehicles, and ammunition. 
  2. Surveillance and communication (including the use of technology that comprises. information, logistics, reconnaissance, command, and control centres for surveillance.

Moving forward, taking and building proper measures is an attempt to ensure security and this is accomplished by:

  • Making effective communication amongst the security agencies to focus on a broader picture.
  • Keeping the data of illegal immigrants.
  • Neutralizing threats that may hamper the peace of the nation.
  • Holding a record of terrorist activities.
  • Securing frontiers and safeguarding the nation from the movement of items and people across borders thus controlling illegal trafficking of people and goods.
  • Preventing smuggling and infiltration.
  • Various agencies are involved in border management such as- armed forces, immigration, customs, intelligence agencies which helps to provide a wider scope.

Methods and proposals adopted by the Government of India

There are basically four main approaches that are taken up by the government for ensuring proper management. They are namely:

Patrolling and guarding the borders

  • Different types of unexpected situations may occur at the border- peacetime, less than the wartime, wartime.
  • To manage the situations arising at borders effectively, A group of people mainly the military or the police are under the duty to keep a watch over the area at regular intervals of time to corroborate peace and safety. 
  • The army, navy, and airforce also get engaged in border management during wartime.
  • Various instructions and protocols are issued by Intelligence agencies to deal with counterintelligence and counter-insurgency.
  • India follows the principle of ‘One Border, One Border- Guardian force’. In the context of this principle, the burden of India- Pakistan, and India- Bangladesh border is under the hands of Border Security Force (BSF), Assam Rifles (AR) for the India- Myanmar border, and Indo- Tibetian border police for India- China border. Nepal and Bhutan’s border is overlooked by Sashtra Seema Bal (SSB). Notwithstanding, the Central Board of Excise and customs overtakes almost 8000 officers at the border for security check.
  • The progressive technology acts as a helping hand to make sure that the situation is completely safe. Different creative electronic pieces of equipment are designed such as- Thermal Imagers, Night vision devices, ground sensors, battlefield radars, and telescopes are used by force for better supervision over the contaminated areas.

Synchronization and modulation of the borders

  • To ensure the border is safe, there’s a need to oversee legitimate trade and travel practices that aim towards the prevention of terrorist activities, illegal smuggling, trafficking, and the infiltration of insurgents. 
  • The Government of India has made the National register and issued Multi-purpose National Identity Cards (MNICs) for the purpose of shutting down illegal migration and eradicating the ones that already exist in India.
  • Integrated Check Post (ICPs) was set up along with the Land Ports Authority of India for ensuring proper management of the administration and easing of movement across the border.

Expansion and growth of border areas

  • The reasons for underdeveloped border areas are- difficult terrain, fragmented roads, lack of accessibility to educational institutions, and hospitals near the border.
  • Population residing near the border is deprived of opportunities, as a result, they get dragged under the influence and get prone to illegal activities such as- smuggling and drugs.
  • To solve this problem, in 1987 the Government of India initiated the Border Area Development Program (BADP). It encompasses several schemes for improving socio-economic infrastructure, providing opportunities by developing community-based frameworks such as- fishery pond parks, forestry, pasture land, public centers, street markets, mobile dispensaries, and so on. Improving security is one of the topmost concerns of BADP.
  • The working of BADP is governed by D/o Border management under MHA.

Dispute mechanisms are constituted for solving conflicts with neighbours

  • GOI has made a system for discussing issues of mutual concerns between home secretaries, commanders of the area, the force, and the joint working group for border management.
  • Meetings are conducted by the Home Secretary and Joint Secretary of Minister of Home Affair at both National and State level that is National level Meetings NLMs) and Sectoral Level Meetings (SLMs) with the goal of maintaining tranquillity along the borders.
  • To attain this objective, the two sides have agreed to ‘prevent inadvertent violations of each other’s territories by their security forces’ and also ‘monitor and curb effectively all illegal and negative activities such as the trans-border movement of insurgents, narco-traffickers, and others involved in nefarious activities’.
  • Border Liaison Meetings (BLMs) are also held from time to time by local area army officers. Mostly, these meetings take place every six months.
  • These bilateral meetings ensure clarity towards each and every concern which arises with time and hence helps in better functioning. India has tried this with- Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan.

Case study analysis

Contrasting sets of borders possess different issues and problems. Listed below are some of the vital matters which have been recognized across multiple land border areas-

Indo- Pak border challenges

  • India- Pakistan border covers an area of 3323kms along with the states of J&K, Gujrat, Punjab, and Rajasthan.
  • This boundary is categorized under three different heads.
  • The first one is the International boundary which was made in 1947 and is called the Radcliffe Line. It stretched from Gujrat to districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The second one came into existence in between1948 and 1971 due to war between India and Pakistan. This is known as the Line of Control (LOC) or Cease FireLine.
  • The third one being the Actual Ground Position Line(AGPL).
  • By 2011, India fenced all of the borders along with Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Gujrat.
  • Around LOC, double row fencing was created to keep it away from the smugglers, separatists, and illegal immigrants. Floodlights are installed and more than 50,000 are lit up in such a way that the border can be seen from space at night. 
  • Notwithstanding fencing has been created, smuggling mainly of heroin is rampant at the border of Punjab. It happens because villagers at both sides of the border are abettors to such activities. In addition, the Involvement of Local politicians plays a major role.
  • Apart from this, anti-India Jihadist Groups are in collusion with Pakistan Armed forces who constantly try to push terrorists to the Indian Side of LOC. For this, there has been occasional indiscriminate firing from the Pakistani side in which Soldiers and citizens get killed.
  • Cross border terrorism, crises in Pakistan, political instability are also the reasons that create tension along the borders. As a result, the fencing done across the border is completely electrified, censored, and strewn with landfills.

State-wise details of fencing along the Indo- Pak border:

Name of the state

The total length of the border

The total length of border to be fenced

Length of border fenced thus far

The remaining length of border proposed to be fenced

Punjab

553

461

462.45

Rajasthan

1037

1,056.63

1,048.27

Jammu International Border

210

186

186.00

Gujrat

508

340

261.78

78.22

Total

2,308

2,043.63

1,958.50

78.22

India- China border challenges

  • The total distance of the India and China border is 3,488km. The whole boundary is a disputed one. The line, which delineates the boundary between the two countries, is popularly called the McMahon Line, after its author Sir Henry McMahon. In 1913, the British-India government had called a tripartite conference, in which the boundary between India and Tibet was formalized after a discussion between the Indian and the Tibetans. A Convention was adopted, which resulted in the delimitation of the Indo-Tibetan boundary. This boundary is, however, disputed by China which terms it as illegal. It is interesting that in the same agreement, the boundary up to Myanmar was settled, and China accepted the McMahon line with Myanmar.
  • To redress the situation arising out of lack of infrastructure along the Indo-China border and for effective movement of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the border guarding force for this border, the Ministry of Home Affairs has undertaken the construction of roads along the Indo-China border in the States of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. 32 Battalions of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been deployed as Border Guarding Force for Indo-China Border.

Innovation and emerging technology trends

In the last several years, the need to explore areas has been felt that mandate greater advanced security for our country’s borders. Various trends today are prompting the need for a better and smarter border management framework. This section tries to identify their impact and disruptive effects, if any, on border management and the global security environment. The factors are:

  • The shift in global economic power
  • Accelerating urbanization
  • Resource scarcity
  • Technological breakthroughs
  • Demographic social change
  • Terrorism

Conclusion

Border control means measures adopted by a country to regulate and monitor its borders. It depicts a country’s physical demonstration of territorial sovereignty. It regulates the entry and exit of people, animals, and goods across a country’s border. It aims at fighting terrorism and detecting the movement of criminals across the borders. In addition, it also regulates both legal and illegal immigration, collects excise taxes, prevents smuggling of illegal and hazardous material such as weapons, drugs, or endangered species, and prevents the spread of human or animal diseases. The degree of strictness at a border control varies depending upon the country and the border concerned.

References 


LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content.

Did you find this blog post helpful? Subscribe so that you never miss another post! Just complete this form…

LEAVE A REPLY