India’s border management and Israeli expertise

Israel’s expertise in border security is world-renowned, can India benefit as well?

AN INDIAN soldier keeps guard from a bunker near the border with Pakistan in Abdullian, southwest of Jammu, last year.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
AN INDIAN soldier keeps guard from a bunker near the border with Pakistan in Abdullian, southwest of Jammu, last year.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
After waiting for a long time, with the leadership change in India we have seen the pace of border security initiatives accelerate. In India, different borders present different challenges.
In 2016, some 242 cases of infiltration were reported from the Pakistan border and 95 at the Myanmar border. The India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders are among the world’s most dangerous. These volatile borders are prone to a number of security threats, such as infiltration and exfiltration of armed militants, movements of non-state actors, narcotics and armed smugglers, illegal migrants, separatist movements, smuggling of counterfeit Indian currency, etc.
Israel’s expertise in border security is world-renowned. Israeli companies offer sophisticated electronic and virtual fences, with video motion detection capabilities; electro-optical-based surveillance; autonomous unmanned aerial, ground and maritime patrol vehicles; advanced tracking and screening of people, vehicles and cargo; advanced thermal imagers; long-range radars; as well as underground sensors to detect tunnels.
For strong deterrence capabilities, defensible borders are crucial. The concept of defensible borders, as described by former Israeli national security adviser Uzi Dayan, is based on the three key components: “strategic depth, the ability to defend yourself from an attack from the outside and fighting terrorism effectively.”
India has a 15,106.7 km. land border and a coastal boundary of 7,516.6 km. including island territories. Securing the border against the infiltration and facilitating trade and commerce are some of the key objectives of the Indian border management.
The Indian government is reviving the existing security infrastructure to deal with the border security challenges. In January 2016, the Indian government approved an elaborate five-layer plan to stop infiltration on the India-Pakistan border. There is a plan to deploy close-circuit television cameras, thermal imagers and night vision devices, BFSRs, underground monitoring sensors, and laser barriers along the border.
In 2015, the Indian government started to implement the initial version of the comprehensive integrated border management system (CIBMS) project. One of the important components of the CIBMS is the use of satellite imagery, which helps security forces analyze the terrain and fortifications along the border. It also helps in planning operations and in infrastructure development.
Through CIBMS the security of the two sensitive and most complex-terrain borders will shift from patrolling by regular troops to a quick response-team mechanism which strikes when the control room detects an infiltration attempt. India will have a patrol-free, multi-layered smart fence along its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh by the end of 2017.
Under Operation Chakravyuh, a network of highly sensitive equipment will be laid along the India-Pakistan border, which will be linked to a control room. The government has decided to install underwater and underground sensor systems to check infiltration.
The technology to be integrated includes automated guns, radars with 360-degree detection capability, and versatile airborne micro-aerostat balloons fitted with high-quality surveillance cameras along the border.
In 2016, the Indian government sanctioned 2,030.44 km. of floodlights along the international border in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat, and decided to deploy laser fencing at the 45 vulnerable spots along the Indo-Pak border in Punjab and the Jammu and Kashmir region.
Last year, eight infrared and laser intrusion detection systems started functioning along the international border in Punjab.
To safeguard against terrorism and illegal immigration, Israel has built effective barriers along its borders with Egypt, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and West Bank. In 2011, the number of people illegally crossing the Israel-Egypt border was more than 16,000 and in 2016, that numbers were reduced to less than 20 – a 99% decrease! A report titled “Securing Israel: lessons learned from a nation under constant threat” launched this year by a US Senate panel has highlighted the characteristics of the fencing Israel has constructed to secure its nation, including the Nitzana Security Fence along its border with Egypt and the West Bank Barrier in east Jerusalem.
Israeli companies such as Elbit Systems, Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Magal Security Systems (founded by IAI), Magna BSP, Rafael’s Security Integrated Systems (SIS) and Seraphim Optronics, etc., provide differentiated solutions for intruder detection, real-time regional surveillance, early warning, targeting and border patrol mission management.
These companies are known for their C4ISR, advanced electro-optics and SIGINT systems.
Their systems are made to work in hard weather conditions and difficult terrain.
In 2016, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that India is planning to seal the entire border with Pakistan by December 2018. India has taken some good steps to secure the borders and to build infrastructure in the border areas. In India-Israel cooperation, border management is one of the crucial elements. India needs advanced border security mechanisms. The experience of managing complex borders/hostile neighbors and technological capabilities makes Israel a perfect partner for India’s Smart Border Management initiatives.

The author promotes advanced technologies, startup ecosystem and government’s business and technology related initiatives like Digital India, Make in India and Startup India.