Using Technology for Smart Border Management
India's borders are quite complex and unique in many ways. With land border of 15106.7 km and a long coastline of 7517 km, maintaining border security and management can be a challenging task. Often the border security forces have to deal with difficult and diverse terrain, varied climatic conditions, multiple geo-political standpoints, which complicate border management and present a need for the use of technology to move towards smarter ways of managing borders.
Meeting these diversified expectations demands decisionmaking based on massive amount of information of all possible nature in all possible formats and from various sources. Artificial intelligence coupled with big data analysis acts as the critical differentiator by enabling border agencies to make every interaction simple and smart. Machine learning techniques help border guarding forces and CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces) to train robots and unmanned systems to enhance their capability of taking appropriate decisions in varied situations for their deployment in the remotest areas, difficult terrains, areas with harsh climatic conditions and threat prone parts of the country.
With the objective to explore possible ways to address contemporary border management issues with the help of new-age solutions, FICCI and India Foundation jointly organised the third edition of 'Smart Border Management' on 17-18 September 2018 at FICCI, New Delhi. The programme was inaugurated by General VK Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, Government. of India who underlined the need for user-oriented technological solutions for securing the country's borders.
During the inaugural session, Minister Singh said, 'We keep hearing terms such as smart cities, smart villages, smart border management and at times one wonders what is it when you say smart, everybody only refers to electronics. I would like to put across smart management as, and it's been there for a long time, to detect, identify, delay, disrupt and neutralise. The uniqueness of our borders is also from the fact that there are areas of our borders where free move regime is permitted.'
'One solution is not going to fit everything, and one has to find answers to varied problems that exist. And therefore, when we talk of smart border management we need to see, what unique solution is available to us to implement.' 'In addition, technology should have reliable and robust alarm systems to reduce the response time for countermeasures,' he emphasised.
FICCI has been advocating for the implementation of technology and solutions for Smart Border Management and it is noteworthy that the Smart Border Management conference coincided with the launch of two pilot projects in Jammu by Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister, Government of India under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management Solution (CIBMS).
On the occasion, the minister also released the FICCI-BDO Report on 'Smart Border Management'.
During the valedictory session, Ram Madhav, National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party said that the industry must adopt 'Ocean-centric' approach, tap cross-border opportunities in less security-breach prone areas. He urged the business community to leverage the myriad cross-border opportunities that were available in areas where security was not a major issue.
Madhav also said that the Indian Ocean region was a 2 billion-strong market and advised businesses to
look at the Northeast not just as a gateway for trading with the country's eastern neighbours but to make the region as a manufacturing hub for doing business with the littoral states.
'People living on the borders are important security agents and call for their inclusion in any strategy to secure the country from infiltration. They have to be provided with electricity, roads, means of communication and this aspect has to be integrated in overall border management,' he added.
Cdr. Gautam Nanda, Associate Partner, BDO India, said that big data technology and services provided the decision-makers with powerful information. The market for such technology and services was estimated to grow at a CAGR of 22 per cent from 2015 to 2020 and will reach $58.9 billion in 2020.
Rahul Chaudhry, Chair, FICCI Homeland Security Committee, stressed on the need to look at technology of today and the future needs to meet the country's requirements. Border management, he said, was multi-dimensional and highlighted the critical role of big data and predictive analytics in tackling border infiltration.
Major General Dhruv C Katoch, Director, India Foundation, underscored the importance of taking on board the concerns of those living in and around the borders and suggested that sarpanches of border villages should be co-opted as members of border management groups.
Sandip Somany, President-Elect, FICCI, said that there was tremendous scope for big data and predictive analytics for coastal security management. He suggested the need to explore data-driven intelligent systems to harness R&D potential at public-funded R&D labs and transfer of technology with industry partners. Innovation and technology infrastructure could be utilised to enhance border management services such as predicting immigrants' risk profiles through data analysis for immigration fraud control, automation and robotic cargo handling.
Six plenary sessions on different aspects of border management were organised during the stretch of two days. In addition to the technical deliberations, a unique session, 'Significance & Aspirations of Public Participation in Border Security' was organised to understand perspective of people living near border who could serve as a force multiplier in border management. The session was chaired by Lalitha Kumaramangalam, Director, India Foundation and Lt. Gen. Shokin Chauhan, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, Chairman, Ceasefire Monitoring Group delivered a Special Address during the session. Sarpanches (majority of them were women) from key border areas like Falkawan, Mizoram (Indo-Myanmar & Indo-Bangladesh Border), Doklam, Sikkim (Indo-China & Indo-Bhutan Border), Bhachau, Gujarat (IndoPakistan Border), Khatan, Rajasthan (Indo-Pakistan Border), Manipur (Indo-Myanmar Border), and Bhuj, Gujarat (Indo-Pakistan Border) participated in the session, shared their perspectives and placed their concerns.
General VK Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India.
Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party.