CHALLENGES IN BORDER MANAGEMENT

INTRODUCTION

  • India shares border with Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. All over world, most conflict-free borders are those which are geographical and have been there from the times immemorial.
  • Here Civilizations settled on either side of geographical barriers like river or mountain ranges and limited exchange takes place from very beginning. Amur River flows between Russia and China, in same way Tigris River between Iran and Turkey and these both marks political boundaries between these countries.
  • Other boundaries are political ones and they bear historical burden as is the case of (sections of boundaries) India with neighbors like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal etc .
  • In this case there has been a common historical cultural flow on either side of the border and as a result there are claims or counter claims. This doesn’t imply that natural boundaries are always undisputed, river often changes their course in long term and this river (if international boundary) can result into fluctuation of political boundaries. Further, in case of Mountain ranges, a state with expansionist designs (as China is) can exert its claim unilaterally, resulting into tense situations.
  • It is pertinent to note that these areas between china and India were once inaccessible, but technological advancements have not only made them accessible, but also strategically important.
  • To guard borders efficiently, it is pre required that borders are agreed/delineated between the neighbors. Also, a state with malicious intent can willfully dispute border to trouble its neighbor country to hamper its progress and to derail its growth.
  • In Indian case borders are quite complex and almost every type of extreme geography is present at different borders viz. deserts, fertile lands, swampy marshes or tropical evergreen jungles.
  • It has 14818 kilometers of land borders and a coast line of 7516.6 kilometers. All states except Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Delhi and Haryana have an international border or a coast line.
  • 92 of India’s 593 districts are border districts in 17 states. India’s boundary with Pakistan (3323 km), China (3488 km), Nepal (1751 km), Bhutan (699 km), Myanmar (1643 km), and Bangladesh (4096.7 km).

 

 

  • Border management becomes more important for the fact that India is like island of democracy between seas of anarchical or instable states. Probably, no other neighbouring country has experienced uninterrupted democratic regime for more than 15 years.
  • Additionally, in some countries there is cultural radicalism which is targeted on India, and terrorists and mafia groups are patronized by some of India’s neighbouring states.
  • There is cross border smuggling problem of drugs, cattle, humans, artifacts, fake currency note etc. Unfortunately, in this scenario our border forces appear to be severely undermanned and under-equipped which is taking heavy toll on economic, social and political stability of our country.

 

WHAT IS BORDER MANAGEMENT

  • While Border Security Approach deals only with defending the borders, the Border management is a broader term which involves not only defending the borders but also the protections of interests of the country on aligning borders.
  • The Department of Border Management in the Ministry of Home Affairs focuses on management of the international land & coastal borders, strengthening of border policing & guarding, creation of infrastructure such as roads, fencing & flood lighting of the borders and implementation of the Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
  • Some problems currently afflicting the management of our borders including maritime boundaries are:
  • Hostile elements have access to latest technology, unprecedented use of money power, organisational strength, maneuverability, wide choice available for selecting theatre of action for surprise strikes and strategic alliances with other like-minded groups.
  • No proper demarcation of maritime and land borders at many places leading to conflicts.
  • Artificial boundaries having difficult terrains like deserts, swampy marshes etc. which are not based on natural features thus making them extremely porous and easy to infiltrate.
  • Multiplicity of forces on the same borders leading to problems of coordination, command and control.
  • Border Guarding Forces like Border Security Force etc. lack infrastructure. They need to be appropriately strengthened both in terms of equipment and manpower.
  • Problems faced by local people due to tough measures taken during anti-terrorism and anti-insurgency operations generate discontent which should be addressed prudently otherwise hostile elements try to leverage this discontent to their benefit.
  • Cross-border terrorism targeted to destabilise India
  • Illegal migration in eastern region causing socio-economic stress as well as demographic changes
  • Sporadic aggression on China border
  • Cross border safe houses for insurgent in north eastern neighbours
  • Smuggling of arms and explosives, narcotics and counterfeit currency
  • Enhanced instances of smuggling, piracy, breach of coastal security
  • In light of above stated problems, there is need of utmost vigilance on the borders andstrengthening the border guarding forces. However, it should also be taken car e that the security of borders does not impede cross-border interactions and is beneficial to mutual economic and cultural relationship.

 

 

 

INDIAN BANGLADESH BORDER

A) Issues

  • Teesta River Water Dispute: After a long time, in 2011 two sides had agreed to share the river’s water 50:50 as the river is important for both India and Bangladesh for its agricultural use. However, this agreement was not signed due to opposition from chief minister of West Bengal.
  • Tipaimukh Hydro-Electric Power Project on the Barak River– Bangladesh is opposing the project as it says that the dam will disrupt the seasonal rhythm of the river and have an adverse effect on downstream agriculture, fisheries and ecology of the region. Indian government has assured Bangladesh that it will not take any unilateral decision on the Project which may adversely affect Bangladesh.
  • Due to high degree of porosity of Indo-Bangladesh Border, millions of Bangladeshi immigrant mostly illegal have poured into India.
  • Border fencing issue – There have been some problems in construction of fencing in certain stretches on this border due to
    • Riverine/ low-lying areas,
    • Population residing within 150 yards of the border,
    • Pending land acquisition cases and
    • Protests by border population, which has led to delay in completion of the project.
  • Unauthorised cross-border trade in goods such as jamdani sarees, rice, salt and diesel has flourished, despite the presence of strict trade regulations and barriers. Although India and Bangladesh officially trade goods worth $7 billion, illegal trade between the two countries is estimated to be double the figure.
  • Cattle smuggling and killing of smugglers
    • Cattle confiscated on border alone are around one lakh annually thus a loss of revenue of around 10000 crore annually for the government.
    • A large number of Bangladeshi nationals who are caught smuggling cattle across the border are killed. While the number of recorded deaths has reduced significantly after India introduced a new policy of having only non-lethal weapons for BSF’s use, the measure has emboldened criminals and led to an increase in attacks on BSF personnel.

B) Initiatives Taken

  • Deployment of force – BSF guards the border with Bangladesh.
  • Fencing – India has constructed a barbed-wire fence and improved lighting along the border to prevent illegal immigrant and other anti-national activities.
  • Road construction – In addition, 3,585.53 kms of border patrol roads have been constructed out of a sanctioned length of 4,407.11 km. A border management department has also been setup to oversee developmental work in the bordering areas and upgraded infrastructure at major entry and exit points.
  • Strengthening vigilance and regulation – Steps have been taken to strengthen border vigil through enhancement of border guards. India is also establishing integrated check posts
  • (ICP) at its land borders which will house, under one roof all regulatory activities such as immigration, security and customs.
  • Bilateral cooperation – India and Bangladesh have both signed a border management plan that envisions joint patrols and information-sharing. India and Bangladesh have also established border haats to deal with illegal or unauthorised trade. Two MoUs – one on
  • Bilateral Cooperation for Prevention of Human Trafficking, Smuggling and Circulation of Fake Currency Notes and second on cooperation between the Coast Guards of India and Bangladesh: to prevent crimes at sea – have been signed. Border forces of two countriesalso undertake joint exercise such as Sundarban Moitry’ (Sundarbans Alliance)

 

INDIA PAKISTAN BORDER

A) Issues along Border

  • Border Disputes ( Read International Relations topic Indo-Pakistan Relations for details )
    • Sir Creek
    • Siachen Dispute
    • River dispute
  • Cross border firing, border skirmishes and constant tension
  • Repeated Infiltration by Pakistan supported terrorists into India as a way of proxy war
  • Illegal activities like smuggling, drugs and arm trafficking, infiltration due to porous borders which runs through diverse terrain including deserts, marshes, plains, snowclad mountains, and winds its way through villages, houses and agricultural lands.

B) Initiatives Taken by Government

  • Fencing – By 2011, almost all of the border– along J&K, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat – was double-row fenced on the LoC.
  • Use of technology-In January 2016, the Centre approved a five-layer elaborate plan to stop infiltration on the 2,900-km western border with Pakistan.
    • Close Circuit Television cameras, thermal imagers and NVDs, BFSRs, underground monitoring sensors, and laser barriers will be placed along the border to track all movement from the other side.
    • The integrated setup will ensure that in the event of a transgression, if one device fails to work, another will alert the control room.
    • Laser barriers will cover 130 unfenced sections, including riverine and mountain terrain from Jammu and Kashmir to Gujarat, which are often used by infiltrators.
  • The border has been electrified, connected to a range of sensors and strewn with landmines. The entire border is also lit up with strong floodlights installed on more than 50,000 poles. As a result, the Indo-Pak border can actually be seen from space at night.
  • Outposts – There are about 700 border out posts, one Integrated Check post is there at Attari, Amritsar.
  • A program for Optimal Utilization of Waters of Eastern Rivers of Indus River System has also been started.

C) Way Forward

  • Prompt and appropriate compensation to border population to stem dissatisfaction among local people
  • Study the pattern of illegal activities like money laundering and checking them
  • The government also established a Task Force on border management under the Chairmanship of Madhav Godbole. The report observed that the country’s borders could not be effectively managed because of certain inherent problems such as their disputed status, artificiality, porosity etc. which give rise to multiple other problems including illegal migration, smuggling, drugs trafficking, and trans-border movement of insurgents.

 

INDO MYANMAR BORDER

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

A) Challenges in India Myanmar Border

  • Uneven terrain and dense forests along the border have made fencing difficult.
  • Ethnic ties across the border mean that entry cannot be restricted fully because of local socio-cultural sentiments. It has given rise to safe havens for various insurgent groups who try to mingle in the local societal milieu.
  • The border is also in news for smuggling of narcotics, arms and fake Indian currency notes (FICN).
  • Modernization of Chinese army has provided easy access to military grade old weapons to the insurgent groups making them heady and dangerous.
  • The infiltration of Rohingya refugees who are significantly radicalized has also increased the susceptibility of the border to terror attacks.
  • Recent Dispute: Border Fencing between BP No.79 and 81 in Moreh
    • In order to check the problem of increased militant activities in the Indo-Myanmar border area, the Government of India sanctioned an action in early 2013 to fence the area between BP No. 79 to 81 on the Indo-Myanmar Border (approx. 10 km).
    • This initiative has recently led to various protests in Manipur as protesters claim that the 10-km fence is being constructed several metres inside the Indian territory because of Myanmar’s objections and this would result in Manipur loosing substantial portions of its territory to Myanmar.
    • They demanded that the Central government should first resolve the border dispute with Myanmar and conduct a joint survey of the border before constructing the fence.
    • However, despite protests, the Central government has decided to go ahead with the construction of fencing as experiment along the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders has also been successful in checking infiltration and illegal migration to a large extent.

B) Way Ahead

  • It should first strengthen the security of the border by either giving the Assam Rifles the single mandate of guarding the border or deploying another border guarding force such as the Border Security Force (BSF).
  • It should initiate a revision of the FMR and reduce the permitted distance of unrestricted travel.
  • The construction of the ICP along with other infrastructure should be expedited.
  • Finally, India should endeavour to meaningfully engage with Myanmar and solicit its cooperation in resolving all outstanding issues and better manage their mutual border

 

INDIA CHINA BORDER

A) Challenges

  • Smuggling : Large scale smuggling of Chinese electronic and other consumer goods take place through these border points.
  • Inadequate infrastructure: The area is characterized by high altitude terrain and thick habitation. While China has built massive rail road linkage on its side, Indian side of border almost has no Infrastructure.
  • Border Disputes: ( Read Indo-China relations under GS-2 Topic India and its neighbourhood relations )
  • Indian side of border is being guarded by different agencies which include ITBP, Special Frontier Forces, Assam Rifles, Indian Army and proposed Sikkim Scouts leading to lack of coordination among these agencies. On the other hand, on the Tibetan side, the entire LAC is managed by Border Guards divisions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) under a single PLA commander of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): China’s CPEC passes through parts of Jammu & Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan. China can use CPEC to mobilize troops in case of conflict and also will provide some cushion against choking of Strait of Malacca by India in case of conflict.

 

 

  • Water disputes: China recently cut off the flow of a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, the lifeline of Bangladesh and northern India, to build a dam as part of a major hydroelectric project in Tibet. And the country is working to dam another Brahmaputra tributary, in order to create a series of artificial lakes

B) Initiatives Taken

  • Border talks:
    • In 1993, the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was signed and the India-China Expert Group of Diplomatic and Military Officers was set up to assist the JWG.
    • In 1996, the Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the Military Field along the LAC was signed.
    • In 2003, two special representatives (one each from India and China) were appointed to find a political solution to the border dispute.
    • Till 2009, these two special representatives had held 17 rounds of talks, but it seems they have not made much headway.
    • Recently, NSA Ajit Doval was appointed as Special Envoy for talks.
  • Construction of roads along India-China border
    • To redress the situation arising out of poor road connectivity which has hampered the operational capability of the border guarding forces deployed along the India-China border, the Government had decided to undertake phase-wise construction of 27 roads totalling 804 km in the border areas along States of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Present status as on 30-04-2017 is that 672.46 Kms of formation work and 409.53 Kms of surfacing work has been completed.
  • Spy Cam Project
    • Putting up cameras with 20-25 km range at 50 locations in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh after 21-day faceoffwith the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China at Depsang Valley in the Ladakh region in 2013. But project failed since weather is not favourable there as high-velocity winds and frost tend to blur the images.

C) Way Forward

  • Our troops should be battle ready which could well entail delivering massive artillery fire in a minimal time-span should the security needs at the local level so require
  • There should be a well-established logistics organisation that can effectively support the existing deployments and any tactical operations that we may need to undertake in the areas.
  • The responsibility for the security and surveillance of the IB and the defence of the border zones along the entire length of the India-China border needs to be transferred to the Ministry of Defence which should be designated as the ‘nodal-agency’ and the responsibilities in the field thence be assumed by the army.
  • ITBP, a force specifically trained for border guarding duties on the India-China border, should not be used by the home Ministry for internal security duties in the naxalite-infested areas of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa. This diversion leads to disturbing the balance and coherence in our deployments

 

INDIA NEPAL BORDER

A) Challenges

  • Pakistan is using the open borders to carry out anti-India activities including pushing of terrorists and fake Indian currency.
  • Fear of spread of Maoist insurgency and links with Maoists groups in India
  • Issue of land grabbing – Allegations of excesses such as intimidation, and forcible grabbing of land by either side along the disputed border also surface from time to time.
  • Easy escape & illegal activities – Insurgents, terrorists, many hard-core criminals pursued by Indian and Nepalese security forces escape across the open border.

B) Initiatives Taken

  • 25 batallions of Shashastra Seema Bal under Ministry of Home Affairs have been deployed
  • Bilateral talks – Bilateral mechanisms in the form of Home Secretary-level talks and Joint Working Group at the level of Joint Secretaries exist between the two countries.
  • Border District Coordination Committee – at the level of district officials of the two countries- has been established as platforms for discussing issues of mutual concern
  • Construction of Indo-Nepal border roads – The Government of India has approved construction of 1377 km of roads along Nepal border in the States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh & Bihar.

 

INDO-SRI LANKA

A) Challenges

  • Katchatheevu Island ( See Indo-Sri Lanka Issue GS-2 )
  • Fishermen Issue ( See Indo-Sri Lanka Issue GS-2 )

B) Initiatives Taken

  • Regarding fishermen issue
  • Steps have been taken to ensure the safety of fishermen, and to prevent the undetected entry of any fishing trawler in the coastal waters. For this purpose, all big fishing trawlers (20 metres and above) are being installed with AIS transponders.
  • As for small fishing vessels, a proposal to fit them with the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) is under consideration. Besides, all fishing vessels are also being registered under a uniform registration system, and the data is being updated online. Colour codes are being assigned to them for easy identification at sea. The colour codes are different for different coastal states.
  • Furthermore, Distress Alert Transmitters (DATs) are being provided to fisher men so that they can alert the ICG if they are in distress at sea.
  • For the safety of fisher men at sea, the government has implemented a scheme of providing a subsidised kit to the fisher men which includes a Global Positioning System (GPS), communication equipment, echo-sounder and a search and rescue beacon. Coastal security helpline numbers 1554 (ICG) and 1093 (Marine Police) have also been operationalized for Fishermen to communicate any information to these agencies

 

 

C) Way Forward

  • Sustainable fishing and alternate livelihood – It will address the underlying cause. There is a glaring need for institutionalisation of fishing in Indian waters by the government of India so that alternative means of livelihood are provided. Government will have to mark up a comprehensive plan to reduce the dependence of Indian fishermen on catch from Palk Bay and the use of bottom trawlers from Tamil Nadu, India. For this deep-sea fishing, and inland alternatives need to be promoted, else India’s fishermen will be locked in a conflict withtheir Sri Lankan counterparts as well as with a hostile Sri Lankan Navy.
  • Institutional mechanism – Last year, the two countries agreed on establishing a Joint Working Group (JWG) on fisheries to help resolve the dispute, setting up a hotline between the Coast Guards of India and Sri Lanka, convening of the JWG once in three months, and meetings of the fisheries ministers every half-year were the components of the mechanism to be put in place.
  • Indian Navy or Coast Guard should join the Sri Lankan Navy in jointly patrolling the international boundary to prevent trespassing.

 

BORDER AREA DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

  • Development of border areas has been a matter of concern for the country. The Border Area Development Programme (BADP) was initiated in western region, which at that point of time was the most volatile border, during the Seventh Five Year Plan period for ensuring balanced development of border areas through development of infrastructure and promotion of wellbeing and a sense of security among the border population.
  • The programme has been expanded since to cover the border blocks of the 17 States (including 8 North Eastern States), which have international land borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • 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 a security environmentin the border areas.
  • The programme is supplemental in nature to fill the gaps and the funds under BADP are provided to the States as a 100% non-lapsable Special Central Assistancefor execution of projects relating to infrastructure, livelihood, education, health, agriculture, and allied sectors to meet the special developmental needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the international border.
  • The BADP is being implemented by the Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs through the State Governments.Guidelines of the programme are prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with Planning Commission (or now NITI Aayog), Ministry of Finance and concerned State Governments. Formulation of schemes/projects, their approval and execution is the primary responsibility of the State Governments.
  • Implementation of the Programme is monitored and reviewed by the State Governments and Ministry of Home Affairs.

 

GENERAL AREAS OF CONCERN IN BORDER MANAGEMENT

A) Policy

  • India still does not have a border policy or a Comprehensive national security policy. The draft National Security Policy put forward by the National Security Advisory Board in 2004 is still under consideration by the Home ministry.
  • Adding to the woes is that India does not have a refugee policy which complicates the matter on how to legally distinguish a refugee from an illegal migrant.

B) Multiple Points of Command

  • The border control has been haphazard since the time of Independence. Ministry of external affairs demarcates the boundaries, Ministry of Home Affairs manages them and the Ministry of Defence is responsible for border defense. Due to the multiplicity of command, a lot of confusion and coordination issues arise on the field.

C) Need for change in approach

  • The approach of the ministries has been subjective with the change in political power at the center and There has been an endless delay in arranging talks due to which except for Bhutan there is lack of clarity. Because of an ad-hoc approach towards border management, problems across all borders exist even after seventy years of Independence.

 

STEPS TO BE TAKEN IN GENERAL FOR BETTER BORDER MANAGEMENT

A) Clear Policy

  • India needs to have a better dispute resolution mechanism with its neighbours. There is a need for a separate department within the Ministry of External Affairs for this purpose.
  • There should be meets with definite objectives and faster resolutions so that the border management is definite, objective and is not prone to either suspicion or susceptibility.
  • Also, there is a need to understand that each border needs a separate approach. For example, if Indo-China border can be termed an aggressive then Indo- Bhutan border is a benign one. There is a need for stricter monitoring and greater vigilance on Myanmar and Bangladesh borders.

B) Border Area Development

  • People and administration in border areas must be involved with agencies and forces entrusted with the responsibility to guard the borders.
  • There must be a comprehensive development plan to improve living conditions as development quells distrust and encourages more involvement and responsibility to the local leadership.

C) Modernization

  • There is an urgent need to modernize border patrolling and management. Use of drones for surveillance, need for upgradation of GIS mapping and satellite imagery and digitization of areas of the border must be looked into urgently.
  • Manpower recruitment and training have to be stepped up and full capacity deployment at the border areas has to be a top priority.
  • The home minister has recently emphasized setting up of border protection grid along the India Bangladesh border which would be a technological barrier and not a physical one along with state of the art surveillance systems like day night cameras, radars, sensors and intelligence agencies as fencing across all areas like rivers, nallahs etc.
  • There is an urgent need to set up a technological committee consisting of experts in order to expedite procurement of equipments and immediate implementation of pragmatic recommendations.

 

D) Steps to check Illegal Immigration

  • The central Government is keen to check illegal immigration as it is not only a humanitarian problem but also a security one. There is an urgent need to bring state and local governments which are on the border areas on board by consensus approach rather than an authoritarian stance.
  • The process of updating National Register of Citizens (NRC) should be expedited. Also there is a need to implement the Assam Accord of 1971.
  • Identify illegal immigrants by checking the validity of their voter-ID, Aadhar and land records and chuck out real illegal immigrants.
  • Open a dialogue with the neighbouring countries to solve the problem on a sustainable basis.

 

COASTAL SECURITY

  • India’s 7,516-kilometre-long coastlineincludes 5,422 kilometres of coastline on the mainland and 2,094 kilometres on the islands belonging to nine states and four Union Territories.
  • The coastline accounts for 90% of the country’s tradeand it spans 3,331 coastal villages and 1,382 islands.
  • The coastline houses 12 major and 200 minor ports, along with 95 landing centres, and is increasingly facing security challenges from adversarial neighbours and non-state actors.
  • This has necessitated the adoption of a more structured and holistic approach with a long-term strategy to modernise, update and strengthen naval surveillance and to plug loopholes in coastal security architecture.

 

 

 

NEED FOR COASTAL SECURITY

  • Maritime terrorism:hijacking, attacking, and sinking ships, taking hostages, sabotaging pipelines, and attacking cities and strategic installations like naval bases and petrochemical storages.
    • Attacks on commercial centres:the 26/11 terror strike in Mumbai in 2008 targeted two iconic hotels (the Taj Palace and Towers and the Oberoi Trident) and a Jewish centre (the Chabad House).
    • Attacks on Ports and other strategic facilities:ports handling large volumes of traffic especially oil and other goods and having a large population centre in its vicinity are most valued targets for the terrorists.
    • Attacks on Ships:ships are soft targets for the terrorist groups as, except for their enormous size, they have practically no means of protection.
      • Ships could be hijacked, attacked by rockets, grenades and firearms, or packed with explosives and destroyed.
    • Piracy and armed robberypose a major threat to sea navigation.
      • Shallow waters of the Sunderbans have been witnessing acts of violence and armed robbery.
    • Smuggling and trafficking: Indian coasts have been susceptible to smuggling of items such as gold, electronic goods, narcotics, and arms.
    • Infiltration, illegal migration and refugee influx: large scale refugee influxes over the decades have resulted in widespread political turmoil in the border states. For example-
      • The creek areas of Gujarat which has its geographical proximity to Pakistan and has complex terrain conducive for infiltration.
      • Political turmoil, religious and political persecution, overwhelming poverty, and lack of opportunities in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is an ideal situation for illegal migration of Bangladeshi citizens to India.
    • The frequent straying of fishermen into neighbouring country waters has not only jeopardised the safety of the fishermen but has also raised national security concerns.

 

GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES IN COASTAL SECURITY INFRASTRUCTURE

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

  • National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Securityheaded by Cabinet Secretary coordinates all matters related to Maritime and Coastal Security.
  • Indian Coast Guard: custom marine organization was merged with the India coast guard and was entrusted with the following responsibilities:
    • Law enforcement in India’s jurisdictional waters
    • Safety and protection of:
      • artificial islands
      • offshore terminals
      • Installations and other structures and devices in any maritime zone
      • Fishermen and providing them assistance at sea while in distress.
  • Assisting the customs and other authorities in anti-smuggling operations.
  • Coastal Security Measures during the 1990s:
    • Two joint operations namely were launched:
      • Operation Tasha:launched by Indian navy to prevent illegal immigration and the infiltration of LTTE militants to and from Sri Lanka.
      • Operation Swan:launched in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai bomb blasts with aim to prevent landings of contraband and illegal infiltration along the Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts.
    • Coastal Security Measures Post Kargil war:Kargil Review Committee (KRC) constituted to study the circumstances that had led to the war has recommended several coastal security measures like:
      • Specialised marine police
      • Strengthening of the ICG
      • Creating fishermen watch groups
      • Installing vessel traffic management systems in major ports
      • Setting up Joint operation centres (JOCs)
      • Creating an apex body for the management of maritime affairs
    • Marine Police Force:under the Coastal Security Scheme (2005) marine police force was created with the aim to strengthen infrastructure for patrolling and the surveillance of the coastal areas, particularly the shallow areas close to the coast.
      • The marine police force was required to work closely with the ICG under the ‘hub-and-spoke’ concept, the ‘hub’ being the ICG station and the ‘spokes’ being the coastal police stations.
  • Coastal Security Architecture:post the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the existing multilayered arrangements have been further strengthened, and other initiatives like:
    • National Investigation Agency,was set up in 2009 to deal with terrorist offences.
    • National Security Guardhave been created to ensure rapid response to terror attacks.
    • The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)has been constituted to create an appropriate database of security-related information.
    • A three-tier security grid was installed with the Indian Navy, the coast guard, and the marine police jointly patrolling India’s near-seas.
  • Electronic Surveillance:National Command Control Communication and Intelligence Network (NC3I) has been launched to provide near gapless surveillance of the entire coastline and prevent the intrusion of undetected vessels, the coastal surveillance network project. It comprises:
    • Coastal radar chain
    • Automatic identification system (AIS)
    • Vessel traffic management and information system (VTMS)

 

CHALLENGES

  • Lack of coordination:The involvement of different agencies and ministries at centre, state and local level invariably leads to coordination problems although several efforts have been made to create greater synergies between them like:
    • Formulation of Standard Operating Procedures.
    • The Conduct of Joint Coastal Security Exercise.
    • Setting up of coordination committees.
  • Lack of clarity among various stakeholders about their roles in ensuring coastal security.
  • Acute shortage of manpowerin police stations, (only 25% of the sanction)
  • Poor Training:Lack of a dedicated training academy for the ICG.
  • Discontent in fishermen communitiesinterferes with the effective functioning of the coastal security architecture as fishermen are considered the ‘eyes and ears’ of the coastal security architecture and, therefore, an integral part of it.
  • Difficult terrain, seasonal weather patterns, administrative lapses, all contribute towards introducing gaps in surveillance and the monitoring mechanism.
  • Delays in land acquisitionand support infrastructure, such as barracks and staff quarters at several locations.
  • Low infrastructurecreation (only 31%):
    • Jetties under the Coastal Security Scheme were yet to be constructed. Use of fisheries’ piers by coastal police at extended distances from Coastal Police Stations (CSS).
  • Below par state-level monitoring

 

WAY FORWARD

  • Surveillance and interagency coordination
    • Beyond expediting the installation of coastal radar chains and AIS stations and ensuring broad access to information, the authorities must ensure the mandatory fitment of AIS on power-driven vessels with a length more than 10m.
    • The central government must address the problems of coordination arising out of the interactions of multiple agencies (with overlapping jurisdictions) and delayed responses.
  • Stronger involvement of coastal police
    • Instead of setting up a coastal border security force with no legal powers, the authorities must move to strengthen and better integrate the coastal police into the littoral security architecture.
  • A legislative framework
    • Comprehensive legislationsto place systems and processes for the protection of India’s maritime infrastructure, covering both the shipping and port sectors.
    • Statutory dutiesof government departments, Port trusts, state maritime boards, non-major ports and private terminal operators and other stakeholders need to be clearly outlined, as also minimum standards of port security requiring statutory compliance.
  • Strengthening of the Coast Guard
    • The CG must be strengthened to play a leadership role in coastal security.
    • Ambiguitiesfrom the Coast Guard Act need to be removed to ensure all security agencies are clear about the roles and responsibilities they are expected to perform.
  • National commercial maritime security policy document
    • The government must promulgate a National Commercial Maritime SecurityPolicy Document, to articulate its strategic vision for maritime security.
    • It must also promulgate a national strategy for Commercial Maritime Securityfor efficient, coordinated, and effective action for protection of the port and shipping infrastructure.
  • Reinforce Coastal Regulation Zone regulations
    • There is an apprehension among environmentalists that CRZ laws are being diluted in favour of tourism, shrimp farming and industry lobby groups, without taking into consideration the views of experts or the public.
  • Coastal security exercises like sagar kavach and sea vigil need to be conducted regularly, in order to generate awareness about threats emanating from the sea as well as to develop synergies among the concerned agencies.
error: Content is protected !!
  • Sign up
Lost your password? Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.
Cart Item Removed. Undo
  • No products in the cart.
%d bloggers like this: