India shares 15,106.7 km of its land-border with seven nations – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Nepal and Bhutan. The border runs through 92 districts in 17 states and the coastline reaches up to 13 states and union territories.

India’s boundary with each of its neighbors runs through a variety of ecological milieus, each with its own unique setting and associated problems. For example, India-Pakistan border runs through areas experiencing extreme climatic conditions given that the boundary extends from the hot Thar Desert in Rajasthan to the cold Himalayas in Jammu and Kashmir .

Similarly, in the north, the India-China boundary runs along one of the loftiest mountain ranges covered with snow all through the year. The India Myanmar boundary is draped with lush tropical forests with its myriad under-growths.

The Indo-Bangladesh boundary has to cope up with the ever-shifting riverbeds in the region. These diverse ecological and climatic conditions create immense hurdles for maintaining the security and administrative requirements in these border areas.

The purpose of the border management is to secure the country’s borders against the hostile elements and putting hindrances to avoid threats while facilitating legitimate trade and commerce.

Types of Land Border
  • International Border Line (IBL): IBL is the demarcation that has been agreed upon and rectified by both the neighbouring countries, and has been accepted by the rest of the world.
  • Line of Control (LoC): LoC is the de facto border which separates Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from India’s state of J&K.
  • Line of Actual Control (LoAC) is the boundary line that separates Indian held lands from Chinese controlled territory.
Indias Land Boundaries Scenario

India’s Land Boundaries Scenario:

  • Bangladesh (4,096 km).
  • China (3,488 km).
  • Pakistan (3,323 km).
  • Nepal (1,751 Km).
  • Myanmar (1,643 Km).
  • Bhutan (699 Km)
  • Afghanistan (106 Km)

Security Challenges in Border Areas

Border management is a security function that calls for coordination and concerted action by various government agencies of the country. The aim is to secure our frontiers and safeguard our nation from the risks involved in the movement of goods and people from India to other countries and vice versa.

Managing the borders is difficult for several reasons. Some of our maritime boundaries are still unsettled. Land borders are not fully demarcated. Sections of our borders are based on artificial boundaries and not based on natural features. Border guarding forces are often under resourced and ill-equipped. They are also used for purposes other than border guarding. Intelligence gathering, intelligence sharing and intelligence coordination are imperfect.

India’s neighborhood is in turmoil. Several of India’s neighbors are undergoing political and economic instability. India also has continuing border disputes with several of its neighbors. Uncertain borders not only raise bilateral tensions but also facilitate cross border infiltration. Some of the other major challenges include:

  • Illegal migration especially along Bangladesh and Nepal borders
  • Counterfeit Currency issues
  • Human trafficking
  • Terrorism, mainly from Pakistan
  • Unaccounted money from other countries to sponsor religious activities
  • Flaring up of communal tensions
  • Smuggling of arms and ammunition
  • Drug smuggling
  • Support to Left-wing extremism
  • Armed succession struggle
Indian borders

Challenges Faced by People

India’s territorial borders, both land and sea, suffer from diverse physical, ethnic and cultural contradictions. While the state has a major role in securing war frontier , the population along territorial peripheries, too, can play an important role in securing our interests. The people living in these areas are the most important ingredient towards a secure and safe border area. But people along border areas suffer different issues in their daily life due to following reasons:

  • Vulnerability to threats posed by border-criminals.
  • Restriction/control over movement by forces.
  • Fear of unknown—threat of aggression by enemy, cross border shelling, firing etc.
  • Lack of industrialization/economic progress, inadequate developmental measures by Govt.
  • Lack of infrastructure, means of communication, education, medical, water and remoteness.
  • Loss of crops, houses and material belongings during the time of aggression.

International Borders of India


India-Myanmar relations are rooted in shared historical, ethnic, cultural and religious ties as Buddhism connects the two countries. India shares a 1643 km long border with Myanmar. The northeast states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram share the border with Myanmar.

The India-Myanmar border got together during Anglo-Burmese war in 1885. British won the war and established administrative mechanism between the two countries. After independence, through Boundary Agreement of 1967, between the India and Burma, the demarcation of border was carried out.

Terrain on the Indo-Myanmar border is semi mountainous with steep slopes covered with dense forest, perennial and seasonal rivers and nullahs with numerous waterfalls. Cross-country movement is
extremely difficult and is restricted to existing tracks only. Thick vegetation restricts both ground and aerial observation. Small villages in the border areas have tribal population, who share affinity with population in Myanmar.

The border with Myanmar also remains operationally active. Several insurgent groups have secured sanctuaries in Myanmar. The cross border movement of Nagas and Mizos for training, purchase of arms and shelter when persecuted by Indian security forces, combined with the difficult terrain of the region makes this border extremely challenging to manage. Similar tribes live on both sides of the boundary and pose difficulty in restricting the movement of the people. Apart from that the border area is vulnerable due to the narco-terrorism, smuggling of arms, illegal migration and fake Indian currencies along borders.

The Intelligence inputs indicate that a major modernization drive of the Chinese Army has released vast quantities of old weapons, some of them are offloaded to the arm dealers who supply it to the insurgent groups inside India. Security concerns along indo-Myanmar Border need to be viewed holistically,
particularly with reference to the influence and physical presence of China in socio-economic and military affairs of Myanmar. The junction of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar is also vulnerable due to the Chakma problem and frequent infiltration of Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

This border is manned jointly by the army and Assam Rifles which has 46 battalions guarding the border. Cross-border ethnic ties have facilitated in creation of safe havens for various northeast insurgent groups in Myanmar. Border fencing works and flood lighting have started. The diversion of AR for counter insurgency and policing has resulted in poor management of borders and also frequent clashes with the local population. Recently, ministry of home affairs has brought out proposal for the creation of a 29-battalion India-Myanmar Border Force from the corps of the Assam Rifles and the Indo-Tibetan Border Force to patrol mountainous border with Myanmar to curtail drugs and arms smuggling and also crimp the activities of Manipuri and Naga insurgents who take advantage of the porous border. The fencing of border is also being undertaken to inhibit the easy movement of undesired elements.

Myanmar is important to India due to historical, ethnic and cultural ties impacting bilateral relations and people to people contact. Myanmar is of great strategic importance as it is a gateway to South East Asia and holds huge economic potential for India. It is important for India’s Energy-security, better coordination with ASEAN countries, trade and investment opportunities for the development of north-eastern part of India and curtailing insurgency in border areas.

Myanmar also provides China a route to the second coastline into the Arabian Sea from Kunming through the Sittwe port. The border coast including Arakan can become vulnerable for India due to increasing presence of Chinese economic and strategic activities in Myanmar. China has already made huge investments in Myanmar in terms of infrastructure development and construction of pipelines for purchase of oii and natural gas. India needs to engage Myanmar as it is important for the development of the North eastern region of India.

India has even taken many steps in recent times such as Kaladan Multi-Modal TransitTransport Project which will connect the Kolkata port with Sittwe port of Rakhine state of Myanmar, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, BIMSTEC etc. to facilitate higher cooperation and integration with Myanmar. Act East initiative has provided new vigor to the efforts channelized towards this purpose.

Rohingya Crisis
  • Rohingya came to Myanmar in the 19th century when the British ruled all of what is now India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • In 1982, the Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship by the government of Myanmar.
  • They are majority Muslim ethnic group who live in northern Rakhine (Arakan) of Myanmar & are one of the most persecuted minority groups according to the UN.
  • The Rohingya conflict is one of the longest conflicts between the majority Buddhist Burmese and the minority Muslims in Myanmar.
  • In 2015 a refugee crisis involving the Rohingyas spread panic across the region, after boats carrying hundreds of refugees were found floating in the sea. Many of these refugees also fled to India. There are an estimated 40,000 Rohingya refugees presently located in India. For India, the Rohingya problem is made further significant by the fact that many of them occupy Rakhine province- home to Sittwe.
  • Suu Kyi has thus far been reluctant to make direct and open commitments toward the resolution of the Rohingya crisis, fearing a possible political backlash at home, which has also dented her reputation as a peace crusader.


India was the first non-communist country to establish an Embassy in PRC. On April 1, 1950, India and China established diplomatic relations. The two countries also jointly expounded the Panchsheel (Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence) in 1954. After a decade of friendship bonhomie, India-China conflict of 1962 led to serious setback in bilateral relations.

The northern border with China extends from Eastern Ladakh in J&K to Arunachal Pradesh. It was considered a very unique border as it was the most peaceful disputed border in the world. But recent Doklam standoff has changed the perception about it. There are various elements of the northern border with China. It includes the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Indian and Chinese perception of claim lines and the International border. The LAC has three sectors: the “western sector” between Ladakh and the Aksai Chin; the “central sector” between Uttarakhand and Tibet; and the “eastern sector” that divides Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh from Tibet. In Ladakh, there are two LAC’s, one what India perceives and the other is the Chinese perception, thus posing a challenge to border management. China is under illegal occupation of areas in Aksai Chin. In the East, it runs along the McMahon Line as per Indian perception whereas China claims that entire state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory and part of southern Tibet and India is under illegal occupation of Chinese territory.

The Indo-China border management has experienced inefficiency. The reason seems to be the involvement of different agencies in managing the border. Most part of the border is guarded by ITBP, mostly headed by IPS officers who report to Home Ministry. But some parts are also guarded by Army which is under Defence Ministry as seen in Doklam areas. This multi-agency structure hampers the efficient coordination among guarding forces and thus mismanagement of security along border.

Since the time of 1962 conflict, the trade relations of past more than 2 decades have been the most important binding force for the two countries. The trade related interests of the two counties have led them to cooperate through different mechanisms such as:

  • BRICS organization of 5 countries which has resulted in forming of New Development Bank to help each other grow through investments.
  • SCO, a strategic organization led by China for peace and stability in Asian countries.
  • Both have cooperated in World Trade Organization against dominance of developed countries.
  • In IMF and World Bank, they have pushed for increased democratization.
  • Participation in UNFCCC summits for meeting the challenges emanating from climate change conditions.

But increasing economic prominence of China has also resulted in its increased assertiveness towards neighbouring countries which has led to many strategic concerns for India. Some of the issues could be enumerated as:

String of Pearls strategy under which China is trying to encircle India through ports in littoral countries such as Gwadar (Pakistan), Chittagong (Bangladesh), Hambantota (Sri-Lanka) etc. India is increasing its cooperation with Japan, USA and Australia for strategic development of its islands to increase its defence capabilities along Indian Ocean to counter China’s increasing dominance.

India also sees the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of connectivity in Asia as China’s strategy to increase its strategic prominence in the region as is perceived in the case of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. To counter it, India and Japan are initiating the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor.

China has also tried to undermine India’s interests by issuing stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh. India has lodged protest against this initiative of China.

But as trade being the dominant part, China outlined a 5 point agenda, including reducing trade barriers and enhancing multilateral cooperation to boost bilateral trade. There are several institutional mechanisms for India’s economic and commercial engagement with China. India-China Joint Economic Group on Economic Relations, Trade, Science and Technology (JEG) is a ministerial-level dialogue mechanism. A Joint Study Group (JSG) was set up to examine the potential complementarities between the two countries in expanded trade and economic cooperation.

China is already India’s number one trading partner. From China’s side, India already is one of its top ten trading partners and is growing much faster than the other nine. Since it is almost certain that, by 2050, China and India will be the two largest economies in the world, it is inevitable that bilateral trade between them will become the most important economic relationship in the world which could have positive impact on settling the border disputes among the two countries.

Wuhan Summit

A two day informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping took place in Wuhan in April 2018.

Significance of the Summit

The summit has shown that despite bilateral and geopolitical differences, India and China can resolve
differences peacefully and through prolonged dialogue; Both the countries have decided to “issue strategic guidance to their militaries to strengthen communication” in order to build trust and mutual understanding and enhance predictability and effectiveness in the management of border affairs, essentially to avoid another Doklam-like confrontation.

India and China have signed agreement on internal security cooperation

It is first such agreement to be signed between the two countries. The agreement on internal security cooperation aims to strengthen and consolidate assistance in counter-terrorism, organised crimes, drug control, human trafficking and exchange of information, marking a new beginning between the two countries. It covers areas of intelligence sharing, exchange programme, sharing of best practices, cooperation in disaster mitigation besides others.

Water Dispute

China’s grand plans to harness the waters of the Brahmaputra River have set off ripples of anxiety in the two lower riparian states: India and Bangladesh. China’s construction of dams and the proposed diversion of the Brahmaputra’s waters is not only expected to have repercussions for water flow, agriculture, ecology, and lives and livelihoods downstream; it had also become another contentious issue undermining Sino-lndian relations.


India shares almost 3323 km of border with Pakistan. India’s 106 km long borders with Afghanistan are under Pakistani control in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). India’s border with Pakistan is divided distinctly in three segments. The first segment is Actual Ground Positioning Line (AGPL) which separates both countries in Siachin Glacier area. The next segment is the Line of Control (LoC) which extends from NJ 9842 to Sangam in J&K and the third segment is International boundary from LoC endpoint till Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. The entire border with Pakistan is manned by the BSF except LoC in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).The LoC is the responsibility of the army with some BSF battalions placed under its operational control. The situation at LoC came under intense scrutiny when Pakistan started proxy war in J&K in early 1990s and began assisting the militants in crossing over the LoC, causing problem of terrorism and insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. This led to creation of LoC fence which has added another dimension for the local population.

As per Shimla Agreement, no defensive structures could be constructed in the near vicinity of LoC. Flence, the fence has been constructed at varying distances from the LoC considering the terrain and tactical aspects of domination and patrolling. The construction of the fence has led to sharp decrease in infiltrations from the Pakistani side as Indian troops have been able to effectively obstruct the movement of insurgents.

However, the construction of fence has led to hardships for the local population. Their lands have been taken away and the area ahead of the fence which cannot be effectively dominated due to ground dispositions has been mined. The construction of crossing points on the LoC has re-enabled people to people contact, which was initially cut off due to strained relations between both the countries.

For over 70 years since the Kashmir conflict began in 1947-48 the two armies were engaged in a so-called ‘eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with loss of life and property that could justifiably be called a ‘low intensity limited war’. Still, there is no consensus between both the countries to regulate the activities. An informal ceasefire has been in place all along the LoC, including at the Actual Ground Position Line. Since 2003, there are frequent violations leading to the growth of hostilities between both countries. In reality, a war like situation prevails in this area.

The 2289 km long international border with Pakistan is guarded by the BSF during peacetime. Its tasks include border surveillance, prevention of illegal crossings and smuggling. Deployed in 609 Border Outposts, 49 BSF Battalions are aided in their task by creation of a border fence in J&K and Punjab. As part of the Border Area Development Programme, 1958kms offence has already been constructed out of the planned 2044 kms at the sanctioned cost of Rs 1201 Crore. Despite several measures, the border along Punjab has been under effect of drug trafficking and smuggling of counterfeit currency. The area is seen as part of Golden Crescent, which is infamous for drug trafficking in Asia.

Most of the areas across the border have been well fenced and flood lighted along with the deployment of surveillance cameras. Border Outposts (BOP) has been created and regular patrolling of the border is done. They also interact with the nearby villages. Sir Creek area has been manned by the water wing of BSF. Nearly around 10 floating outposts have been deployed which acts as mother ships from where regular patrolling vessels are sent to patrol around the creek areas. In addition, night vision devices, hand held thermal images, battle field surveillance radars, ground sensors etc. have been deployed.

Madhukar Gupta Committee Report

Madhukar Gupta committee has submitted its report to the Government to strengthen border protection and address vulnerabilities in fencingalongthe Indo-Pakistan border. The Committee has given its recommendations broadly on the issues of Threats and Border Protection, assessment of force level, deployment on the border, infrastructure and technology issues for protection of border and administrative issues. It has been decided to initiate action in light of the recommendations of the Committee in consultation with the stakeholders.

Ceasefire Violations

During winter, Indian security officials have identified that Pakistan is trying to push in as many infiltrators as possible to add to the terrorist bench strength in J&K before the passes get snowed under. It is gaining international attention and Pakistan requires mediation on Kashmir. The West is more concerned about the re-emergence of al-Qaeda in the Middle East. This will allow Pakistani Army relative freedom to launch major terrorist operations in Kashmir – may be a revival of the Kashmir jihad. The withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan resulted in diversion of Pakistan Army’s attention to the Indian borders. A tactical diversion of the attention from Pakistan’s internal politics shuffled economy and pathetic law and order situation to the border areas. A tactic to move out the civilian population from the border areas may result in more unhindered infiltration.


India was the first country to recognize Bangladesh as a separate and independent state and established diplomatic relations with the country immediately after its independence in December 1971. India’s links with Bangladesh are civilisational, cultural, social and economic. There is much that unites the two countries -a shared history and common heritage, linguistic and cultural ties, passion for music, literature and the arts.

India and Bangladesh share 4096.7 km of . border, which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbors . The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification during Hon’ble PM’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015. On 31 July, 2015 the enclaves of India and Bangladesh in each other ’s countries were exchanged and strip maps were signed. Residents of these erstwhile enclaves, who opted to retain their Indian citizenship made a final movement to India by 30 November 2015.

The settlement of the maritime boundary arbitration between India and Bangladesh, as per UNCLOS
award on July 7, 2014, paved the way for the economic development of this part of the Bay of Bengal, and will be beneficial to both countries.

The India-Bangladesh border has been described as the ‘problem area of tomorrow’. The problems include illegal migration, smuggling, and transborder movement of insurgents, which are serious threats to the security of the country. India shares its longest border with Bangladesh, but this border is not attentively managed. The border is guarded by Border Security Force.

The problems in border management are as follows:

  • Porous nature of border
  • Difficulty in identifying Bangladeshi nationals
  • Indifferent attitude of border population
  • Over-population in border areas
  • Inadequate fencing along border
  • Criminal-administration-police nexus
  • Criminals in enclaves
  • Ambiguity in jurisdiction on the border

The Indian government has initiated initiatives such as increasing fencing along border, inclusion of increased number of Integrated Check Posts for efficient and secure movement of people, facilitation of trade along border. India has also planned to undertake big infrastructural projects along border to facilitate efficient management of India-Bangladesh border.


Relations with Nepal have vital importance both domestically as well as on foreign policy front for India. Many factors make India’s relationship with Nepal critical. These include the extensive people-to-people, religious, cultural and economic links between the two countries, the open border and the resultant security problems for India, free Indian currency convertibility in Nepal, the presence of Gorkhas in the Indian army, the millions of Nepalese living and working in India , and the flow of major rivers from Nepal to India. It shares a border of over 1751 kms in the east, south and west with five Indian States – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

It became an open border under the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950. It was virtually un-attended till very recently as Nepalese citizens have free access to live and work in India under the said treaty. Since the eruption of a Maoist insurgency in Nepal efforts have been made to gradually step up vigilance along this border as India fears the southward spreads of Maoist ideology.

The responsibility for this has been entrusted to the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) which has 34 battalions guarding the border. India has increased the border patrolling and has also started CBM with Nepali counterparts. The major challenges faced due to a porous border are of illegal immigration for economic reasons, smuggling and terrorism. Some intelligence inputs of presence of Pakistan intelligence agency, ISI, have increased the need to guard the border efficiently.

Nepal’s proximity to China has also increased the need for better coordination with Nepal from India’s perspective. Along with OBOR initiative, Nepal has signed Transit Agreement with China to explore an alternate of its dependence on India regarding trade. Recently, it has started accessing internet from China, ending India’s monopoly, thus diversifying its options.


The Indo-Bhutan border is 699 km long sharing with Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal. It is a closed border which has been manned by SSB’s with strength of 13 battalions. It is relatively peaceful and effectively coordinated guarding with the cooperation of Bhutanese counterparts. For the Bhutan border, the BSF shares the responsibility with the SSB. Since the Royal Bhutanese Army drove out the Bodo and ULFA insurgents from its territory in 2003, the border has been relatively quiet, but there is need to ensure that such groups do not again create sanctuaries for themselves in Bhutan.

India has been through thick and thin with Bhutan since long past. Bhutan has in return had shown enormous interest in supporting its big neighbor, India. Bhutan supports India’s stand on the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which were accused as discriminatory de-nuclearisation programes and also India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Bhutan proved to be India’s trusted friend in 2003 when it launched Operation All Clear and Operation Flush out against Indian insurgents taking shelter in its territory.

Response to Border Management Challenges

The traditional approach to border management, i.e. focusing only on border security, is becoming inadequate. Indianeeds to not only ensure seamlessness in the legitimate movement of people and goods across its borders but also undertake reform to curb illegalflow. Increased bilateral and multilateral cooperation, coupled 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.

Current border management schemes by the Government of India cover articles of trade and people, points of entry and borders, and strategic and operational facets. A variety of measures are taken to safeguard land borders. These measures are grouped into following categories:

  1. People: Comprises the various types of forces and manpower deployed for safeguarding our borders.
  2. Process: Efficient border management and border security essentially entail the effective control and regulation of the movement of people and goods and are of exceptional importance for the country. The processes that define and control the regulatory strategy for the borders and help the government facilitate legitimate travel and trade while simultaneously preventing illegal Migration, smuggling and infiltration of insurgents and terrorists are the hallmarks of good border management. Consequently, the two basic tenets that help define the process for border management are:
    • Porousness of borders for legitimate trade and movement of persons.
    • Non-porousness of borders for all criminal activities and other activities that jeopardize stability in the region. Border management is an integral part of military security and demands proactive intelligence, inclusion of technological advancements, and coordinated action by bureaucrats, politicians, economic agencies, security personnel and other related stakeholders of the nation in order to safeguard our borders from any sort of infiltration and attack.
  3. Technology: The Government of India is focusing extensively on leveraging the power of technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of border operation. The world is moving towards technologically advanced military and defence systems and India has been equipping its military with sophisticated weaponry to help combat actual and perceived dangers to the nation. Technology interventions near the border areas in India are broadly classified into two categories:
    • Mobilization and ordinance supply chain (including equipment, weapons, vehicles and ammunition)
    • Surveillance and communication (including the use of technology that comprises information, logistics, reconnaissance, command and control centers, and surveillance in the border areas)
  4. Surveillance and Communication: Strategic gains out of modern offensive systems, such as high-tech artillery and troop deployment can only be realized effectively when augmented with essential research and intelligence-based activities. In many ways, soldiers near the border area fight a persistent battle of secrecy with the military personnel across the border. Amid such latent military intentions, information about the opposition and spying shape the basic military moves. Non-offensive technologies like advanced communication systems and surveillance enable the border guard forces to pre-empt and handle such situations in the most effective manner possible.

Some of the measures taken by the Government of India include advanced surveillance systems, command and control centres, maritime border security and drones. In this regard, the Defence Research and Development Organization has been supplementing India’s border management techniques through extensive research and development. Special focus has been laid on technology in areas such as information, communication, command and control, Air Defense Control and Reporting System and battlefield management system.

There have been recommendations of establishing Integrated Theatre Command to act as a unified command of thethree services for better communication among the three units of security forces. Kargil Review Committee recommended for setting-up of Chief of Defense Staff for the same purpose.

Department of Border Management

The Department (D/o) of Border Management was formed under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in January 2004, following recommendations from the Group of Ministers (GoM) on border security. This department has been entrusted with the responsibility of all matters associated with land borders and coastal borders, with the exception of LOC in the Jammu and Kashmir sector. The roles and responsibilities of the D/o Border Management include development of Integrated Check Posts (ICPs).

Island Territories and Coastal Security

India has a coastline of 7,517 km, of which the mainland accounts for 5,422 km. The Lakshadweep coast extends for 132 km and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a coastline of 1,962 km. The Indian coastline is distributed among nine coastal states and four UTs, and almost the entire coast of India falls within the tropics. The nine coastal states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.

According to the Maritime Zone Act, 1976, the maritime zones of India are divided into five Coast Guard regions, with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) responsible for the enforcement of maritime zones.

Five regions and Headquarters:

  • North-West (Gandhinagar)
  • West (Mumbai)
  • East (Chennai)
  • North-East (Kolkata)
  • Andaman and Nicobar (Port Blair)

Recently, there has been proposal to establish Coastal Border Police Force, a central armed police force to supplement the Coast Guard in guarding the coastal areas.

Kargil Review Committee

The Kargil Review Committee had very specific terms of reference. It was to investigate events leading up to the Kargil crisis and seek means for prevention of similar crises in future. It was headed by noted defence analysts and convenor of the National Security Council Advisory Board K. Subrahmanyam.


  • Measures to augment the flow of foreign language experts into the intelligence and security agency, which face a severe shortage of trained linguists.
  • Deputation of armed services officers up to director level in the Ministry of Defence should be considered.
  • Early establishment of a National Defence University (NDU) and the creation of a separate think-tank on internal security.
  • A permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
  • Expediting the creation of new instruments for counterterrorism, such as the National Intelligence Grid and National Counter Terrorism Centre.
  • Promotion of synergy in civil-military functioning to ensure integration. To begin with, the Creation of a new post of Intelligence Advisor to assist the NSA and the National Intelligence Board on matters relating to coordination in the functioning of intelligence committee
  • Amendment to Prevention of Corruption Act to reassure honest officers, who take important decisions about defence equipment acquisition, so that they are not harassed for errors of judgement or decision taken in good faith.
  • Deputation of officers from services up to director’s level in Ministry of Defense.
Naresh Chandra Task Force

Naresh Chandra Task Force was set up by the government in 2011 to review the current national security system and to suggest measures to strengthen the national security apparatus. The salient recommendations are as follows:

  • Creation of a new post of Intelligence Advisor to assist the NSA and the National Intelligence Board on matters relating to coordination in the functioning of intelligence committee
  • A permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
  • Expediting the creation of new instruments for counter-terrorism, such as the National Intelligence Grid and National Counter Terrorism Centre.
  • Deputation of officers from services up to director’s level in Ministry of Defense
  • Early establishment of a National Defence University (NDU) and the creation of a separate think-tank on internal security.

Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System

The CIBMS is touted as a more robust and integrated system that is capable of addressing the gaps in the present system of border security by seamlessly integrating human resources, weapons, and hightech surveillance equipment. It has three main components:

  • New high-tech surveillance devices such as sensors, detectors, cameras, ground-based radar systems, micro-aerostats, lasers as well as existing equipment for round-the-clock surveillance of the international border.
  • An efficient and dedicated communication network including fiber optic cables and satellite communication for transmitting data gathered by these diverse high-tech surveillance and detection devices.
  • A command and control centre to which the data will be transmitted in order to apprise the senior commanders about the happenings on the ground and thus providing a composite picture of the international border.

A composite picture would help senior commanders analyse and classify the threat and mobilise resources accordingly to assist the field commander in his response. The purpose of the CIBMS is to eventually replace manual surveillance/patrolling of the international borders by electronic surveillance and organising the BSF personnel into quick reaction teams to enhance their detection and interception capabilities. Other factors such as power back up, training of the BSF personnel in handling the sophisticated equipment, and maintenance of the equipment are incorporated into the CIBMS project.

Challenges To CIBM System

In the case of India, it is widely accepted that the operation and maintenance of the existing sophisticated equipments remain a problem.

At present, many of the high-tech surveillance devices deployed by the BSF are not optimally utilised because the required technical expertise is not uniformly available among the force’s personnel.

The high cost of the electronic devices and the lack of easy availability of spare parts act as a deterrent against their use.

Control centres manned by incompetent BSF officials and centralised decision making could hamper timely and effective response on the ground given that detection and interception of infiltrators at the border require a quick response which is achieved only through a decentralised decision making process.

The lack of technical expertise, erratic power supply and adverse climatic and terrain conditions in the border areas could potentially undermine the functioning of the sophisticated system.

Border Area Development Programme

The Border Area Development Programme (BADP) was introduced in 1993-94 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. It was launched to meet the special development needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas near the international border. Its primary objectives were to create infrastructure in border areas, instill a sense of security among the people living in border areas, Provide economic opportunities to people living in the vicinity of the border.

Initially, the programme was implemented in the western Border States with an emphasis on the development of infrastructure to facilitate the deployment of Border Security Force. Later, the ambit of the programme was widened to include other socio-economic aspects such as education, health, agriculture and other allied sectors. During the eighth five year plan, the coverage was extended to include the Eastern States that shared a border with Bangladesh. The implementation of BADP
scheme was on participatory and decentralized basis through the Panchayati Raj Institutions, Autonomous Councils and local bodies.


The main objective of the BADP is to meet the special developmental needs and wellbeing of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the international border and to saturate the border areas with the entire essential infrastructure through convergence of Central/State/BADP/Local schemes and participatory approach.

Participation of Women in BADP Programme

In respect of participation of women in BADP programme, Himachal Pradesh is most well-placed among all other States covered under the programme, with regard to the participation of women in the planning and implementation processes of BADP. 100% people of the Himachal Pradesh said that women are very participative in the implementation of the scheme. A greater degree of participation of women in village panchayats empowers women in these villages in general. On the other hand, 63% of the people of J&K, 60% of the people of Rajasthan and 80% people of Punjab stated that women’s participation in BADP is not satisfactory. Women’s participation was found similarly unsatisfactory in the NE States.

Funds Allocation

Funds are allocated to the States on the basis of three parameters bearing equal weightage under BADP. These parameters are:

  • Length of International Border
  • Population of border block
  • Areas of border blocks
Recommendations of NITI Aayog
  • Inspection and monitoring of programmes/better reporting structure.
  • Planning of more employment and skill generating schemes.
  • Reduced political interference.
  • Awareness campaign about the scheme.
  • Construction of all-weather roads/bridges/footpaths.
  • Deployment of adequate staff.
  • Allocation of more funds and their timely release.
  • Involvement of Panchayat Samitis in planning and implementation of scheme.
  • Promotion of small scale industries to generate additional employment and income.
  • Convergence with other programmes at planning level.

Way Forward

Smart border management aims to modernise our country’s existing border management by improving the quality and efficiency of border crossing process. It further aims to help India and neighbouring countries to deal with increasing flow without necessarily increasing the number of border guards and patrol forces. The fundamental objective of smart border management is to promote mobility between India and other countries in a secure environment while contributing to fight against terrorism, drug trade, smuggling, illegal activities and other serious crimes.

Thus, in this context, smart border management is a stronger more efficient and transformational solution towards border management that lays emphasis on improved controls for border security, smarter information systems for intelligence gathering, and preventing and acting upon any threats in a more planned and sophisticated manner using the latest technological advances.

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