Se­cur­ing In­dia’s por­ous bor­ders

SP's MAI - - EDITOR’S DESK - Jayant Baran­wal Pub­lisher and Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

The task of se­cur­ing In­dia’s bor­ders is mam­moth, as the coun­try shares vast bor­der ar­eas with China (over 4,000 km); Pak­istan (nearly 3,000 km); Bangladesh (over 3,300 km); Nepal (about 1,700 km); Burma (nearly 1,500 km); Bhutan (605 km); and Afghanistan (106 km). With in­fil­tra­tion into In­dia con­tin­u­ing from some of the neigh­bours, adding to in­ter­nal strife, the need to seal the bor­ders is ur­gent, even while in­ter-coun­try di­a­logues take place.

Re­cently, the Union Home Min­is­ter Sushil Ku­mar Shinde con­ceded that “in­fil­tra­tion from Pak­istan into In­dia is con­tin­u­ing and our se­cu­rity forces are ‘very alert’ in deal­ing with it”. While com­mend­ing the se­cu­rity forces, the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship has to take some hard de­ci­sions – in­vest in se­cur­ing the bor­ders. The ex­am­ple of the United States on how it took a num­ber of strin­gent ini­tia­tives to se­cure its bor­ders, post-9/11 has to be stud­ied. It is not that the US has devel­oped a fool­proof sys­tem, but it is one which is very ef­fec­tive. Un­like the US, In­dia is more at risk if the bor­ders are not se­cured, con­sid­er­ing the volatile sit­u­a­tion in the neigh­bour­hood.

The meet­ing of the Home Sec­re­taries of In­dia and Bangladesh in Dhaka re­cently wherein the two sides dis­cussed is­sues such as bor­der man­age­ment, se­cu­rity, land boundary de­mar­ca­tion etc. have to be a con­tin­u­ous process and mon­i­tored reg­u­larly. The co­or­di­nated bor­der man­age­ment plan, we hope, will help in check­ing in­fil­tra­tion.

Tak­ing the is­sue fur­ther, Lt Gen­eral (Retd) P.C. Ka­toch in his fort­nightly col­umn, points out that China and Pak­istan are busy syn­er­gis­ing the in­sur­gent out­fits in In­dia to cre­ate a com­pact rev­o­lu­tion­ary zone (CRZ), which sounds omi­nous. The In­dian po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship should take note of this and check in­fil­tra­tion be­fore it takes on dan­ger­ous pro­por­tions. As such In­dia is re­port­edly home for about 40 mil­lion il­le­gal weapons, with an­nual trade of $4 mil­lion. They are cer­tainly not coming through air­ports. The land and sea bor­ders have to be sealed tight.

In this is­sue, we have two in­ter­est­ing features on tac­ti­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem (TCS) which the In­dian Army badly needs. The TCS pro­gramme is es­ti­mated to cost about $1.8 bil­lion and when fielded with req­ui­site mo­bile ter­mi­nals net­work, will ful­fil a long- stand­ing crit­i­cal op­er­a­tional void of the In­dian Army. Both Lt Gen­eral Ka­toch and Lt Gen­eral (Retd) Naresh Chand have out­lined the ad­van­tages of the TCS, al­beit de­layed.

At the 23rd edi­tion of Euron­aval 2012 in Paris, Saudi Arabia was un­der the ar­clights. The Euron­aval Show Report by R. Chan­drakanth speaks about West­ern OEMs look­ing at emerg­ing mar­kets to shore up their dwin­dling rev­enues.

On the ac­qui­si­tion front, In­dia has picked the US-built Boe­ing CH-47F Chi­nook for the IAF’s heavy-lift heli­copter re­quire­ment. Chi­nook pipped Rus­sia’s Mi-26T2 on price. The US may have lost out on the MMRCA deal, but they are win­ning in spurts as can be seen from Boe­ing get­ting or­ders for AH-64D Apache, P-8I Po­sei­don for the In­dian Navy and Har­poon anti-ship mis­siles.

With so­phis­ti­cated and costly pro­cure­ments in de­fence and avi­a­tion grow­ing con­sid­er­ably, the sim­u­la­tion in­dus­try is keep­ing pace and is huge. From this is­sue, we are in­tro­duc­ing a sec­tion on sim­u­la­tion which will give up­dates, trends and in­sights into an in­dus­try which re­lies on pre­ci­sion, cost-sav­ing, safety and train­ing.

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