SMART Fencing of India Borders

Prelims level : Mains level : Paper – III Security Challenges & their Management in Border Areas
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  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday inaugurated the first phase of hi-tech ‘smart fencing’ of a 11 km stretch on the International Border (IB) in Jammu as the system would prevent the infiltration of terrorists and will reduce the casualties of security forces at the border.
  • He also mentioned a future plan of covering more than 2000 km of ‘vulnerable’ and unfenced areas through CIBMS.


  • The launch of two pilot projects of ‘smart fencing’ along India’s International Border with Pakistan, is being implemented at a 60 km patch. A part of the project is functional.
  • The smart fencing project will initially be implemented to cover gaps in the physical fencing. Eventually, this technology will be implemented across the entire border, which is planned to be launched by December.
  • The BSF had taken up the initiative as part of the comprehensive integrated border management system. Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) would provide for round-the-clock laser-guided surveillance of the borders.
  • The CIBMS- a concept and nomenclature written by Commandant Jagdish Maithaniintegrates different sensors to maintain surveillance over an area. The data collected is sent to a command and control centre, from where operations can be directed.
  • It consists of five types of sensors- radar, electro optics, unattended ground sensors, OFC based sensors and mini aerostat.

In Assam:

  • A similar setup that was planned border along the Brahmaputra river in Dhubri later this month has hit rough weather.
  • Due to its geographical features, no outpost could be erected in the area which often led to incidents like illegal migrations going unchecked. The smart fencing can be a solution for this problem.
  • The Border Security Force (BSF), which is implementing this project in Assam, says that it is facing a few challenges such as setting up technological equipment on the riverbed with the river changing course regularly, finding sensors that can work in water and shortage of power and data connectivity.
  • The Dhubri project was supposed to have technical issues, if someone is infiltrating through the riverine stretch, the problem is that there is so much ambient noise that it requires a software of the capability of a sonar to bring out the characteristic signature. For example, cattle could be crossing or a boat is passing by, the software should be able to differentiate each one of them.
  • The river changes course and a whole installation can get washed away. It is important to make a project which is dynamic, so that even if the river changes course it should still work.
  • Only a few sensors can work in rivers such as sonars and getting them is another challenge. There is also no power and data connectivity in these areas, so have to setup these things ourselves.

Border Fencing:

  • India’s geostrategic location, its relatively sound economic position vis-à-vis its neighbours and its liberal democratic credentials have induced the government to undertake proper management of Indian borders, which is vital to national security.
  • India shares 15,106.7 km of its boundary with seven nations Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. These land borders run through different terrains, managing a diverse land border is a complex task but very significant for security point of view.
  • What further increase the complexity and criticality are the varied climatic conditions and relationship with some of the neighbouring countries.
  • The traditional approach to border management, i.e. focussing only on border security, has become inadequate. India needs to not only ensure seamlessness in the legitimate movement of people and goods across its borders but also undertake reforms to curb illegal flow
  • With the adoption of new technologies for border control and surveillance and the development of integrated systems for entering, exchange and storage of data, will facilitate the movement of people and products without endangering security.
  • Smart border management is an attempt to identify and implement controls which aim to improve border security by
    • Enabling effective communication and coordination among all security agencies
      to arrive at a common entity picture.
    • Neutralising threats linked to terrorism and organised crime.
    • Checking illegal migration.

Current system:

  • A variety of measures are taken to safeguard land borders. These measures are grouped
    into three categories people, process and technology.

    • Comprises the various types of forces and manpower deployed for safeguarding
      our borders.
    • Outlines a few initiatives taken by the Government of India to streamline the
      process of border control.
    • Lists the technological controls into which the Government of India continues to
      invest in order to strengthen border management.

Indo-Pak Border Challenges:

  • Critical issues like the Pakistan occupied Kashmir, Sir Creek dispute, cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violation are key challenges plaguing this part of the Indian border and our armed forces.
  • The harsh and varied climatic conditions along this 3,323-km of border compound the challenges faced by our armed forces in securing these areas.
  • An increase in ceasefire violation and infiltration amount have been observed during the pre-winter season, when vigilance becomes extremely tough due to snowfall along the mountainous terrain.
  • Other factors like the political instability and crisis in Pakistan also lead to an upsurge in cross-border tension along the border areas.
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