Challenges to secure India’s Land Borders

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    • India’s significant border challenge is that it has contested borders with Pakistan and China and both of them have a strategic nexus directed against India.

    India’s borders

    • About:
      • India’s borders are unique due to the variety of terrains through which these borders pass, namely deserts, mountains, glaciers and forests. 
      • It is obvious that managing such large borders in diverse terrain conditions poses myriad challenges.
    •  India shares borders with the countries as below:-
      • Bangladesh:
        • 4096.70 kms running along West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
      • Pakistan: 
        • 3323 kms running along Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
      • China: 
        • 3488 kms running along Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Ladakh.
      • Nepal:
        • 1751 kms running along Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim.
      • Bhutan:
        • 699 kms running along Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
      • Myanmar: 
        • 1643 kms running along Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.
      • Afghanistan: 
        • 106 kms running along Union Territory of Ladakh

     

    India’s Border disputes

    • With China: 
      • It is along the LAC with China that India faces the toughest border challenge. 
        • India has disputed borders with China in Ladakh, Middle Sector, and in Arunachal Pradesh
      • Despite many levels of talks, very little progress has been made to resolve the dispute. 
      • China is using the dispute against India, whom it sees as its competitor in Asia, to moderate its strategic behaviour and advance its national goals and aspirations.
    • With Pakistan:
      • On the borders:
        • Barely two months after Independence, Pakistani fighters invaded Jammu and Kashmir, leading to the first of four wars the two countries have since fought.
        • The Kashmir region is often dubbed as one of the most militarised places in the world. 
        • POK is Pakistan Occupied Kashmir which refers to the region in Kashmir which is under control of Pakistan.
      • Issue of Drugs:
        • Drugs smuggling from Pakistan is another major challenge for our paramilitary forces and state police. 
        • Punjab, a strategic border state, has been the target of drug smuggling for many years now.
      • Terrorism:
        • Terrorism emanating from territories under Pakistan’s control remains a core concern in bilateral relations.
    • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC):
      • The CPEC is a collection of infrastructure projects that have been under construction throughout Pakistan beginning 2013
        • The CPEC is part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative.
      • India has protested the project from its inception since it passes through large chunks of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
    • Along Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar:
      • India’s border management with our other neighbours—Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar—poses different kinds of challenges. 
      • Here, the principal objective is to secure our borders against elements hostile to the country and putting in place systems that are able to interdict such elements while facilitating legitimate trade and commerce, tourism and other such activities.

    India’s strategy to tackle its border disputes & way ahead

    • Construction activities:
      • As part of the strategy to secure the borders as also to create infrastructure in the border areas of the country, several initiatives have been undertaken by the Border Management Division. 
        • These include: 
          • Construction of fence, floodlighting, roads, Border Out Posts (BOPs), Company Operating Bases (COBs) and 
          • Deployment of technological solutions along the India-Pakistan, India-Bangladesh, India-China, India-Nepal, India-Bhutan and India-Myanmar borders. 
        • Other:
          • Projects like Trans-Arunachal Highway will help in mounting an effective and speedy response against an aggression by the China. 
          • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) completed more than 100 projects in border areas, the majority of which were close to the border with China.
          • India is speeding up work on the Nimu-Padam-Darcha axis which is going to help troops move to Ladakh from other parts of the country.
            • However, this will take time; until then we have to be prepared to deal with its aggression along LAC in an ‘Armed Coexistence’ scenario.
    • Deployment of troops & surveillance: 
      • The Indian Army and the BSF are deployed in multiple layers to form an anti-infiltration grid. 
      • The border fence and deployment of other surveillance devices has helped in reducing infiltrations. 
      • The surgical strikes launched by our armed forces in the wake of terrorist attacks supported by Pakistan’s ISI have succeeded in sending the message of firm resolve to deal with the menace of terrorism and proxy wars.
    • Drugs Challenge:
      • Drones have proved to be an effective tool in smuggling drugs across the border. 
        • It will take more than mere vigilance on the border to deal with this menace. 
        • Improving our intelligence network within the state to nab the drug dealers on our side of the border must be the main priority of our security forces.
    • Along Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar borders:
      • Our borders with these countries are guarded primarily by paramilitary forces, and they have to deal with smuggling and trafficking of humans, drugs, arms, illegal migration and movement of suspected insurgents. 
      • Porous borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar and open borders with Nepal pose challenges in dealing with these nefarious activities.
    • Need of trilateral dialogue:
      • India, Pakistan and China should begin a trilateral dialogue for dispute-resolution, cooperation and common development. 

     

    Daily Mains Questions

    [Q] Enumerate the issues faced by India on its borders. Analyse India’s strategy to secure its Land Borders.