Border Wall

24/2/2017 496 Security Issues | Border issues | View Recent Current Affairs

  • The Centre has given up its proposal to build a wall along the Pakistan border in Jammu, originally envisaged as a barrier to cross-border terror.

Analysis:

  • The wall proposal was opposed by Pakistan, which accused India of converting what it called a “working boundary” into a “quasi international boundary.”
  • The Indian Army too opposed the embankment, saying it would pose hurdles for their forward movement during military operations.
  • Also, unlike the Line of Control, the International Border is densely populated and has fertile agrarian land. Not many people were willing to let go of their land.
  • The present system of border guarding continues to remain manpower intensive with a unit area of responsibility varying from about 25 km in Jammu to over 60 kms in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • India fenced and floodlit 461 km of Punjab’s border with Pakistan from 1988 to 1993. The 1,048 km Rajasthan-Pakistan border was fenced and floodlit by 1999.
  • Of the construction of 340 km of border roads and 137 km of link roads along Pakistan border in Gujarat sector sanctioned, 294 km of border roads and 136 Km of link roads had been completed till a few years back.
  • The challenges remained along the LoC in J&K and the unfenced 93 km of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
  • BSF had also proposed shifting of 23.380 km of fencing closer to the border in certain stretches of Ferozepur sector in Punjab due to the problems being faced by farmers in cultivating their lands.
  • A dozen laser walls are already installed in the India-Pakistan border in Punjab in areas prone to infiltration.
  • India has erected 407 km border fencing in J&K in areas where there is high threat but the gaps between posts can only be covered through patrolling or ambushes which spread the security forces thin on the ground and is not 100 percent foolproof despite best efforts especially in hours of darkness, fog and adverse weather.
  • Pakistan has been employing heavy cross-border firing to assist the infiltration and terrorists have also been using explosives to make gaps in the fencing or dig holes under the fence.
  • In addition, heavy snows buried the fence especially in north Kashmir and large portions are also destroyed annually because of avalanches.
  • There is no denying that we need ‘smart’ borders. We need to optimize the best technology. Abroad, solar panels, rechargeable batteries, and diesel generators support extensive floodlighting with enough power.
  • Operators pan and tilt the cameras remotely whenever any suspicious activity is observed. However, such arrangements are not feasible along active borders where Pakistan resorts to unprovoked firingy.
  • Modern electronic surveillance involves detection of movement, and is largely based on seismic, acoustic, inductive sensors, and infrared sensors.
  • Seismic sensors can distinguish between people and vehicles. Inductive sensors detect metal in an object that is moving, while IR sensors can detect human body heat from a distance of up to 100 metres.
  • The Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS) in use by the Army are mostly imported and primarily meant for guarding houses or premises. These are ineffective with snowfall and the DRDO has not been able to come up with one suitable for snow conditions.

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