Tech­nolo­gies used in Bor­der and Perime­ter Se­cu­rity — The In­dian Con­text

The proxy war by Pak­istan started in 1989 and has con­tin­ued since then. In­dia has con­tin­ued to fight it de­fen­sively since then.


The proxy war by Pak­istan started in 1989 and has con­tin­ued since then. In­dia has con­tin­ued to fight it de­fen­sively since then.

Lt Gen­eral V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

LATE 1980s AND EARLY 1990s saw the emer­gence of a ‘proxy war’ in the state of Jammu and Kash­mir launched by the Pak­istan-based ter­ror groups sup­ported in all re­spects by the Gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan and their mil­i­tary. In due course it be­came am­ply clear that Pak­istan had adopted the so­called strat­egy of “bleed­ing In­dia through a thou­sand cuts” by send­ing ter­ror­ists from var­i­ous ji­hadi tanz­ims like the Lashkar-e Toiba, and Jaish-e-Mo­hammed who were equipped, trained, funded and launched across the line of con­trol (LoC) and at times across the in­ter­na­tional land and mar­itime borders by the Pak­istan Army and their ISI (In­ter-Ser­vices In­tel­li­gence) to de­stroy tar­gets in In­dia. This proxy war started in 1989 and has con­tin­ued since then. In­dia has con­tin­ued to fight it de­fen­sively since then. The in­ten­sity of at­tacks have var­ied from year to year. Since 2015, the mil­i­tants have in­creas­ingly un­der­taken high-pro­file fi­day­een at­tacks against the In­dian se­cu­rity forces. In July 2015, three gun­men at­tacked a bus and po­lice sta­tion in Gur­daspur and on Jan­uary 2, 2016, four to six gun­men at­tacked the Pathankot Air Force Sta­tion. In­dian au­thor­i­ties blamed Jaish-e-Mo­ham­mad for the lat­ter at­tack. On Septem­ber 18, 2016, four heav­ily armed ter­ror­ists at­tacked an In­dian Army bri­gade head­quar­ters in Uri, near the LoC in a predawn am­bush. They lobbed 17 grenades in three min­utes. As a rear ad­min­is­tra­tive base camp with tents caught fire, 18 army per­son­nel were killed and many more were in­jured. A gun bat­tle en­sued dur­ing which all the four mil­i­tants were killed. The heavy ca­su­all­ties among the sol­diers caught un­awares, gen­er­ated anger among the peo­ple com­pelling the gov­ern­ment to take note of it.

In­dia re­tal­i­ated on the night of 28/29 Septem­ber by launch­ing what the In­dian Army termed as “sur­gi­cal strikes” by In­dia’s Spe­cial Forces (SF). It seems that 8 teams of about 20 to 30 SF per­son­nel each, over a frontage of about 200 km in­fil­trated across the LoC and de­stroyed the ter­ror­ist camps where the ter­ror­ists were wait­ing to be launched into op­er­a­tions on In­dia side of the LoC. Sub­stan­tial num­ber of ca­su­al­ties were caused among the ter­ror­ists. The Uri ter­ror strike by the ter­ror­ists from Pak­istan and sub­se­quent sur­gi­cal strikes by In­dia once again high­lighted the need for strength­en­ing the bor­der se­cu­rity with ef­fec­tive fenc­ing and use of var­i­ous types of sen­sors and other aids.

Indo-Pak­istan Bor­der Fenc­ing

In­dia-Pak­istan bor­der (IPB) mea­sures 3,323 km and its sub­di­vi­sion is 1,225 km in J&K out of which 740 km con­sti­tutes the LoC (which is an un­de­mar­cated bor­der), 553 km in Pun­jab, 1,037 km in Ra­jasthan and 508 km in Gu­jarat.

Presently, 609 Bor­der Out Posts (BOPs) are al­ready ex­ist­ing along the IPB and ad­di­tional 126 BOPs (in­clud­ing upgra­da­tion of 38 BOPs in Jammu) along the Indo-Pak­istan bor­der have been sanc­tioned to re­duce the in­ter-BOP dis­tance to 3.5 km. The con­struc­tion of these ad­di­tional BOPs will pro­vide the en­tire nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture for the ac­com­mo­da­tion, lo­gis­tic sup­port and the com­bat func­tions of the Bor­der Se­cu­rity Force (BSF) troops de­ployed on the In­doPak­istan borders. The project was tar­geted to be com­pleted by 2013-14. How­ever, there is spillover in works due to con­straints like public protests, de­lay in the land ac­qui­si­tion and statu­tory clear­ances, etc.

In ad­di­tion to the newly sanc­tioned BOPs as men­tioned above, 70 BOPs were sanc­tioned un­der the com­pos­ite scheme for Gu­jarat sec­tor of the Indo-Pak bor­der.

The wire fenc­ing on the in­ter­na­tional bor­der with Pak­istan has been com­pleted how­ever it has not proved to be fool­proof due to gaps caused by ter­rain dif­fi­cul­ties in river­ine ter­rain and in re­cent de­ci­sions it seem that In­dia is now likely to in­stall an Is­rael type of bor­der fence along our west­ern bor­der. Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh who had vis­ited Is­rael in Novem­ber 2014 has seen the fence and its ef­fec­tive­ness in Is­rael. He has an­nounced the gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion to seal the en­tire stretch of 3,323-km-long Indo-Pak bor­der by De­cem­ber 2018. In­tel­li­gence in­puts in­di­cate that Pak­istan is all set to in­fil­trate large num­ber of ter­ror­ists into In­dia. The Home Min­is­ter has also said that the work will be done in a planned way, with a mon­i­tor­ing frame­work set up to re­view the progress, monthly, quar­terly, bian­nu­ally and an­nu­ally. On the ques­tion of se­cur­ing the river­ine belts, and ar­eas where it is ge­o­graph­i­cally un­fea­si­ble to put a phys­i­cal bar­rier along the bor­der, he said that the gov­ern­ment will look into tech­no­log­i­cal solutions to en­sure ev­ery inch of our land is guarded. In­fil­tra­tion has also been at­tempted through the in­ter­na­tional bor­der in Pun­jab and J&K in ad­di­tion to trans-bor­der smug­gling of goods, nar­cotics and fake In­dian cur­rency in Pun­jab, Ra­jasthan and Gu­jarat.

Flood Light­ing

In or­der to curb the at­tempt of in­fil­tra­tion and cross-bor­der crimes along the In­doPak­istan bor­der, the gov­ern­ment has sanc­tioned 2,030.44 km of flood­lights along the in­ter­na­tional bor­der in the states of Jammu & Kash­mir, Pun­jab, Ra­jasthan and Gu­jarat. The work has been more or less com­pleted ex­cept for some por­tion in Jammu and in Gu­jarat.

Laser Fenc­ing

Dur­ing the Pathankot at­tack on Jan­uary 2, 2016, the ter­ror­ists had used one of the river­ine tracts lo­cated 5 km down­stream of Bamiyal near Tash bor­der out­post in Pun­jab to en­ter the In­dian ter­ri­tory. Hence, for such ar­eas BSF had de­cided to in­stall laser fenc­ing two years ago.

There are 45 such vul­ner­a­ble spots along the Indo-Pak bor­der in Pun­jab and Jammu and Kash­mir where it will be in­stalled and as of April 29, 2016, eight in­frared and laser beam in­tru­sion de­tec­tion sys­tems have started func­tion­ing in the por­ous treach­er­ous and river­ine tracts along the in­ter­na­tional bor­der in Pun­jab.

What is Laser Wall?

The laser wall is a mech­a­nism that de­tects ob­jects pass­ing across the line of sight be­tween a laser source and a de­tec­tor, and sets off the alarm if it’s breached.

The laser walls are equipped with night and fog op­er­abil­ity tools to en­sure func­tion­ing in low vis­i­bil­ity con­di­tions. The laser sen­sors are con­nected through satel­lite-based sig­nal com­mand system to en­sure re­mote mon­i­tor­ing. Although ex­pen­sive, but it is an ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion to plug the loopholes and check­mate the enemy.

Tech­nolo­gies Em­ployed in Is­raeli Bor­der Fenc­ing

Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh had vis­ited one of the bor­der out­posts in Gaza and was “greatly im­pressed” by the tech­nol­ogy used in the highly so­phis­ti­cated bor­der se­cu­rity system of Is­rael which in­cludes high­qual­ity long-range day cam­eras along with night ob­ser­va­tion sys­tems em­ploy­ing third­gen­er­a­tion ther­mal im­agers.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu had re­port­edly told Singh that Is­rael was “ready and will­ing” to share with In­dia its tech­nol­ogy for bor­der pro­tec­tion. Is­rael is hailed to have the best bor­der pro­tec­tion system in the world, and de­pends more on tech­nol­ogy than hu­mans to pro­tect its bor­der. The tech­nol­ogy in­cludes high-qual­ity lon­grange day cam­eras along with night ob­ser­va­tion sys­tems, third-gen­er­a­tion ther­mal im­agers, long-range de­tec­tion radars, elec­tronic touch and mo­tion sen­sors on the fence as well as un­der­ground sen­sors to de­tect any tun­nel­ing at­tempts. The Is­raeli bor­der fenc­ing along West Bank, Gaza and Egypt also

con­sists of lat­ticed steel, topped and edged with ra­zor wire, ex­tend­ing at least two me­tres be­low ground and in some sec­tions reach­ing seven me­tres above the ground. Ditches and ob­ser­va­tion posts with cam­eras and an­ten­nae line the route. In an elec­tronic fence, an elec­tronic pulse runs through the fence, set­ting off an alarm on con­tact that will al­low se­cu­rity guards to lo­cate the ex­act spot of at­tempted in­fil­tra­tion.

Line of Con­trol Fenc­ing and Sen­sors used

The In­dian line of con­trol fenc­ing is a 550-km bar­rier along the 740-km dis­puted 1972 LoC (or cease­fire line as it was called ear­lier). The fence, con­structed by In­dia, gen­er­ally re­mains about 150 me­tres on the In­dian side. Its stated pur­pose is to ex­clude arms smug­gling and in­fil­tra­tion by Pak­istani-based ter­ror­ists. The bar­rier it­self con­sists of dou­ble-row of fenc­ing and con­certina wire 2.4 to 3.7 me­tres in height, and is elec­tri­fied and con­nected to a net­work of mo­tion sen­sors, ther­mal imag­ing de­vices, light­ing sys­tems and alarms. They act as “fast alert sig­nals” to the In­dian troops who can be alerted and am­bush the in­fil­tra­tors try­ing to sneak in. The small stretch of land be­tween the rows of fenc­ing is mined. The con­struc­tion of the bar­rier was be­gun in the 1990s, but slowed in the early 2000s as hos­til­i­ties be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan in­creased. After a Novem­ber 2003 cease­fire agree­ment, build­ing re­sumed and was com­pleted in late 2004. LoC fenc­ing was com­pleted in Kash­mir Val­ley and Jammu re­gion on Septem­ber 30, 2004. Ac­cord­ing to In­dian mil­i­tary sources, the fence has re­duced the num­bers of ter­ror­ists who rou­tinely cross into the In­dian side to at­tack tar­gets by 80 per cent.

Gaps be­tween posts ex­ist along the LoC and can only be cov­ered through pa­trolling or am­bushes which spreads the se­cu­rity forces thin on the ground and is not 100 per cent fool­proof de­spite best ef­forts espe- cially in hours of dark­ness, fog and ad­verse weather. Pak­istan has been em­ploy­ing heavy cross-bor­der fir­ing to as­sist in­fil­tra­tion and ter­ror­ists have also been us­ing ex­plo­sives to make gaps in the fenc­ing or dig tun­nels un­der the fence. In ad­di­tion, heavy snow buries the fence es­pe­cially in north Kash­mir and large por­tions are also de­stroyed an­nu­ally be­cause of avalanches. The new fence tried out in con­sul­ta­tion the Snow and Avalanche Study Es­tab­lish­ment (SASE) uses stronger ma­te­rial and will have night-vi­sion cam­eras, alarms and vis­ual map dis­plays in­te­grated with the fence, all linked to a mon­i­tor­ing room, giv­ing the lo­cal mil­i­tary com­man­ders re­al­time data en­abling quick re­ac­tion against any at­tempt to tam­per with the fence. The fence is also pro­posed to be lit up us­ing LED light­ing where fea­si­ble.

Tech­nolo­gies Avail­able Glob­ally Op­ti­cal Sur­veil­lance

This is is one of the old­est sur­veil­lance tech­nolo­gies around mainly made up of night vi­sion, tele­scopes, binoc­u­lars and spot­ting scopes.

Night Vi­sion. A night vi­sion de­vice (NVD) is an op­ti­cal in­stru­ment that al­lows im­ages to be pro­duced in ul­tralow lev­els of light vir­tu­ally ap­proach­ing to­tal dark­ness. They are most of­ten used by in­ves­ti­ga­tions agents, the mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment agen­cies, but are also used by civil­ians like hunters and wildlife pho­tog­ra­phers. Night vi­sion de­vices were first used in World War II and the tech­nol­ogy has evolved greatly since then, lead­ing to sev­eral “gen­er­a­tions” of night vi­sion equip­ment with per­for­mance in­creas­ing and price de­creas­ing. Spot­ting Scopes and Binoc­u­lars. Although every­one is fa­mil­iar with binoc­u­lars, spot­ting scopes are less known. Spot­ting scopes are gen­er­ally a sin­gle scope, or monoc­u­lar with a greater mag­ni­fi­ca­tions and are gen­er­ally used by in­ves­ti­ga­tors and na­ture watch­ers.

Tele­scopes. Whether you are look­ing at Mars, the moon or in open ter­rain you don’t get much bet­ter mag­ni­fi­ca­tion than a tele­scope to see those finer de­tails and this could be used to ad­van­tage for sur­veil­lance along a fence.

Elec­tronic Fenc­ing

Elec­tric fences are de­signed to cre­ate an elec­tri­cal cir­cuit when touched by a per­son or an­i­mal. A com­po­nent called a power en­er­giser con­verts power into a brief high volt­age pulse. One ter­mi­nal of the power en­er­giser re­leases an elec­tri­cal pulse along a con­nected bare wire about once per sec­ond. Another ter­mi­nal is con­nected to a metal rod im­planted in the earth, called a ground or earth rod. A per­son or an­i­mal touch­ing both the wire and the earth dur­ing a pulse will com­plete an elec­tri­cal cir­cuit and will con­duct the pulse, caus­ing an elec­tric shock. The ef­fects of the shock de­pend upon the volt­age, the en­ergy of the pulse, the de­gree of con­tact be­tween the re­cip­i­ent and the fence and ground and the route of the cur­rent through the body; it can range from barely no­tice­able to un­com­fort­able, painful or even lethal.

Perime­ter Sur­veil­lance Radar (PSR)

This is a class of radar sen­sors that mon­i­tor ac­tiv­ity sur­round­ing or on crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture ar­eas such as air­ports, sea­ports, mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tions, na­tional borders, re­finer­ies and other crit­i­cal in­dus­try and the like. Such radars are char­ac­terised by their abil­ity to de­tect move­ment at ground level of tar­gets such as an in­di­vid­ual walk­ing or crawl­ing to­wards a fa­cil­ity. Such radars typ­i­cally have ranges of sev­eral hun­dred me­tres to over 10 kilo­me­tres.

Bat­tle­field Sur­veil­lance Radars

It is gen­er­ally a man-portable bat­tery-pow­ered elec­tronic short-range bat­tle­field surveil- lance radar to pro­vide all-weather sur­veil­lance against in­tru­sion. The radar is ca­pa­ble of search­ing a spec­i­fied sec­tor and per­form­ing track while scan­ning for mul­ti­ple tar­gets. The radar de­tects, tracks and aids in clas­si­fy­ing the mov­ing tar­gets. Such radar sys­tems can be car­ried by one or two sol­diers. They are com­pact and can be set up within a few min­utes to match the speed and re­quire­ments of the users. The radar has so­phis­ti­cated built-in soft­ware al­go­rithms to de­tect, track and clas­sify tar­gets like crawl­ing man, group of walk­ing men, light and com­bat ve­hi­cles, and low fly­ing he­li­copters. It also has a built-in in­ter­face for au­to­matic trans­fer of tar­get data to re­mote lo­ca­tions and ca­pa­bil­ity of in­te­gra­tion with imag­ing sen­sors. The radar is amenable for mast-mounted role on any light ve­hi­cle.

Unat­tended Ground Sen­sors

For the de­tec­tion of move­ment at a bor­der cross­ing, Self-Pow­ered Ad-hoc Net­work (SPAN) nodes may be equipped with ground-vi­bra­tion or acous­tic sen­sors, while for struc­tural-in­tegrity ap­pli­ca­tions, stress sen­sors would be em­ployed. Ac­cord­ing to Lock­heed Martin, sev­eral undis­closed agen­cies within the US Gov­ern­ment are cur­rently test­ing the abil­ity of unat­tended ground sen­sors to pro­tect per­son­nel sta­tioned in war en­vi­ron­ments, and to as­sist with bor­der sur­veil­lance.

Lock­heed Martin is not the only com­pany pro­vid­ing wire­less-sen­sor mesh net­works for gov­ern­ment use for mil­i­tary pur­poses or bor­der pro­tec­tion. Since 2008, air­craft and de­fence com­pany Tex­tron has been pro­vid­ing its bat­tery-pow­ered Mi­croOb­server Unat­tended Ground Sen­sors with built-in vi­bra­tion sen­sors to track the pres­ence of in­trud­ers on foot or in ve­hi­cles. More than 1,000 such sen­sors are presently in op­er­a­tion.

Unat­tended ground sen­sors may be in the form of IR de­vices, pres­sure de­vices, mag­netic de­vices, elec­tro­mag­netic de­vices, or acous­tic de­vices.

(Top) Weapon lo­cat­ing radar; (above) bor­der fenc­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.