Bor­der & Perime­ter Se­cu­rity

Dur­ing his ad­dress at the Com­bined Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence in New Delhi on Oc­to­ber 17, 2014, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had stated: “Beyond the im­me­di­ate, we are fac­ing a fu­ture where se­cu­rity chal­lenges will be less pre­dictable; sit­u­a­tions will evolve a

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - Lt Gen­eral P.C. Ka­toch (Retd)

Beyond the im­me­di­ate, we are fac­ing a fu­ture where se­cu­rity chal­lenges will be less pre­dictable; sit­u­a­tions will evolve and change swiftly; and, tech­no­log­i­cal changes will make re­sponses more dif­fi­cult to keep pace with. The threats may be known, but the en­emy may be in­vis­i­ble.

BY MEN­TION­ING THE IN­VIS­I­BLE en­emy in ad­di­tion to con­ven­tional threats, the Prime Min­is­ter was ob­vi­ously re­fer­ring to the grow­ing threat of ter­ror­ism and in­sur­gency that In­dia is fac­ing, which in­cludes re­fo­cus­ing of Al Qaeda to South Asia, en­try of ISIS in Af-Pak re­gion-Mal­dives and the en­hanced ter­ror threat from our neigh­bour­hood; Bangladeshi links to Bur­d­wan blasts, Sri Lankan rad­i­cals un­der­tak­ing surveil­lance spy­ing in South In­dia and the like. There­fore, the pas­sage of in­for­ma­tion be­comes in­creas­ingly im­por­tant. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween in­for­ma­tion and con­flict is well known and the chal­lenge all along is how to max­imise in­for­ma­tion. In to­day’s con­text in­for­ma­tion is in­creas­ingly of strate­gic value. We are in a state of per­pet­ual con­flict and the bat­tle­field is bor­der­less.

Our dif­fi­cult and por­ous bor­ders are re­peat­edly be­ing sub­jected to in­fil­tra­tion, ter­ror, cross bor­der at­tacks and il­le­gal demo­cratic in­va­sion. Then we have the Chi­nese sur­rep­ti­tiously nib­bling at our ter­ri­tory in per­sis­tent fash­ion. Within the coun­try, ter­ror­ist strikes can­not be ruled out in any state. There­fore, log­i­cally we can­not be caught un­awares be­cause wherein mat­ters of se­cu­rity, there can­not be scope of any break in down­time. The first thing is to have the ca­pa­bil­ity to ‘see’ the en­emy or ter­ror­ist at the ear­li­est but that is just a small part of the re­quire­ment. Perime­ter de­fence is rel­a­tively easy be­cause you can have a 24x7 warn­ingcum-surveil­lance sys­tem through a net­work of a va­ri­ety of sen­sors (sur­face, sub-sur­face and in the air), cam­eras, etc, that are dig­i­tally con­nected to give a live pic­ture.

But here again the game is to get as much ad­vance warn­ing and have the ca­pa­bil­ity to re­spond in ad­e­quate fash­ion. In the wake of speedy tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments, com­mand, con­trol, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, com­put­ers, in­for­ma­tion and in­tel­li­gence, surveil­lance and re­con­nais­sance (C4I2SR) sys­tems pro­vide ster­ling op­por­tu­ni­ties for the de­fence and se­cu­rity es­tab­lish­ment act­ing as im­por­tant force mul­ti­plier for com­man­ders at all lev­els. This is what the Prime Min­is­ter meant when say­ing he would like to see dig­i­tized armed forces. Net-cen­tric war­fare helps shar­ing of common op­er­a­tional pic­ture en­abling shar­ing of high value in­for­ma­tion over well in­formed ge­o­graph­i­cally dis­persed forces re­sult­ing in in­for­ma­tion ad­van­tage. Tech­nol­ogy pro­vides nu­mer­ous op­tions to build au­to­mated C4I2 sys­tems for ef­fec­tive re­sponse in mod­ern con­flict sit­u­a­tions. All this is even more rel­e­vant to bor­der se­cu­rity. We have a di­verse ter­rain. Part of the line of con­trol (LoC), not all has a bor­der fence as also some of the bor­der with Bangladesh is fenced. There is no fence along the line of ac­tual con­trol (LAC) with China.

What we ac­tu­ally need for se­cu­rity of our bor­ders is two tiers, one tier beyond the bor­der. In the pre­vail­ing en­vi­ron­ment of global con­flict, the first tier of se­cu­rity must be beyond the bor­der it­self. This should not only con­sist of the eyes in the space and air (satel­lites, drones and stealth air­craft) but also through ap­pli­ca­tion of asym­met­ric ap­proaches in the en­emy’s back­yard. Our first tier of se­cu­rity must in­clude mea­sures to negate the ad­ver­sary’s moves in the asym­met­ric field through ad­vanced sub-con­ven­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Here it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that bas­ing a pol­icy against sub-con­ven­tional threats on ide­al­ism as stand­alone fac­tor only pro­vides an in­ward look­ing pol­icy which is more ex­pen­sive in the long run and ad­versely af­fects our na­tional se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment. This would be through in­tel­li­gence and spe­cial op­er­a­tions. Why we have not been ef­fec­tive in this field is be­cause un­like other coun­tries in­clud­ing China and Pak­istan, we have not gone for in­tel­li­gence and spe­cial op­er­a­tions em­ploy­ing our Spe­cial Forces in synch with in­tel­li­gence agen­cies. This is be­cause in­tel­li­gence agen­cies con­sider this as loss of turf and in­sist this is their ex­clu­sive do­main. The failed ex­per­i­ment with the LTTE is just one ex­am­ple of fol­low­ing such pol­icy.

The sec­ond tier of se­cu­rity re­quired is at the bor­der it­self with full op­ti­mi­sa­tion of tech­nol­ogy through a ro­bust C4I2SR setup. Ob­vi­ously, we should not present a weak front any­where along our bor­ders. If China has round the clock satel­lite cover at the bor­ders, we should have the same. We must have con­tin­u­ous trans­bor­der surveil­lance in place. This must be com­prised of satel­lite cover, aerostats, UAVs, MAVs and unat­tended ground sen­sors (UGS). Com­pre­hen­sive bat­tle­field trans­parency must be in place in­te­grat­ing space, aerial and ground equip­ment (LOROS, BFSR, HHTIs, UGS, Surveil­lance cam­eras, NVDs etc).

Mod­ern elec­tronic surveil­lance in­volves de­tec­tion of move­ment, and is largely based on seis­mic, acous­tic, in­duc­tive sen­sors, and in­frared sen­sors, all of which should be op­ti­mised. Con­sid­er­ing the un­set­tled bor­der, con­struc­tion of a bor­der fence ev­ery­where is not fea­si­ble. How­ever, it would be pru­dent to cater for lay­ing of ob­sta­cles, mines, im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices (IEDs) on im­mi­nence of hos­til­i­ties, even fire or aeri­ally lay mines on axes of en­emy ad­vance, as and re­quired. The forces de­ployed along the LAC (as also sub­se­quent tiers and of­fen­sive re­serves) need to be pro­vi­sioned with the where­withal for in­for­ma­tion dom­i­nance and in­for­ma­tion as­sur­ance, abil­ity to par­a­lyze en­emy C4I2 in­fra­struc­ture, stand-off weapons to pre-empt en­emy at­tack, ad­e­quate mix of DEW, PGMs, ASATs etc, abil­ity to dis­rupt en­emy lo­gis­tics / sus­te­nance and mix of hard kill and soft kill op­tions. Field­ing of the bat­tle­field surveil­lance sys­tem (BSS) and bat­tle­field man­age­ment sys­tem (BMS) must be ex­pe­dited. De­vel­op­ment of bor­der in­fra­struc­ture needs to be fine tuned to cater for all types of move­ment by day and night.

In the pre­vail­ing and fu­ture en­vi­ron­ment, threats to our na­tional se­cu­rity will keep mul­ti­ply­ing. We need in­for­ma­tion dom­i­nance un­der th­ese cir­cum­stances at all lev­els of con­flict. We must have the abil- ity to not only see the en­emy well be­fore he sees us but take him out ear­li­est. In look­ing for op­ti­mis­ing tech­nol­ogy, we should be look­ing at build­ing ca­pac­i­ties like iden­ti­fy­ing in­fil­tra­tion through dense fo­liage by air and abil­ity to take out that threat through armed drones. Sim­i­lar abil­ity is needed for coun­tert­er­ror­ism which also threat­ens the back­yard of our bor­der se­cu­rity. Suc­cess in com­bat de­pends greatly upon fused, tai­lored in­tel­li­gence which is com­mu­ni­cated se­curely and rapidly. Speed is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent.

The crit­i­cal el­e­ments of sen­sor grids and en­gage­ment grids are hosted by a high­qual­ity in­for­ma­tion back­plane. Th­ese are sup­ported by value-adding com­mand and con­trol pro­cesses many of which need to be au­to­mated to achieve speed. This in essence per­son­i­fies the es­sen­tial char­ac­ter­is­tics of a C4I2 sys­tem. There­fore, there is a need for a tremen­dously flex­i­ble and ro­bust C4I2 ar­chi­tec­ture which func­tions as a process of or­gan­i­sa­tions, doc­trines and tech­nolo­gies. We need to pro­gres­sively de­velop fool­proof se­cu­rity at our bor­ders and com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity of all vul­ner­a­ble points and vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas against threats of all types. The chal­lenge is to har­ness the power of sen­sors, in­for­ma­tion pro­cess­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies to de­velop con­cepts of op­er­a­tion and com­mand and con­trol ap­proaches that will en­sure com­pre­hen­sive all-round se­cu­rity in any given sit­u­a­tion or cir­cum­stance.

MQ-9 Reaper un­manned aerial at­tack ve­hi­cle

In­dian Army pa­trol­ing on bor­der


Tele­phon­ics’ Mo­bile Surveil­lance Ca­pa­bil­ity (MSC)

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