Fence it up: Expert panel suggests measures to curb border infiltration

  • Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 23, 2016 10:48 IST
The Indian flag flies on a hill in Uri sector, near the de facto border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, on September 21, 2016. (AP)

A committee set up to determine the vulnerability of guarding structures along the Indo-Pakistan border has recommended to the government to fall-back on fence as it has proved its effectiveness in checking infiltration in the past.

The recommendations comes after a group of militants, suspected to have crossed over from Pakistan, carried out an attack on an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir killing 18 soldiers on Sunday.

The committee was set up three months after the January terror attack on Pathankot to suggest ways to strengthen the security along the border.

It has suggested to the government to focus on Jammu area first where much of the infiltration is taking place on International Border.

“Fencing helped the country curb infiltration along Indo-Pak border in Punjab when it was reeling under militancy in the 80s and 90s. But it needs to be maintained in better manner with modern technological tools to make the border guarding structure impregnable,” said a source privy to the details of the recommendations of the committee.

The border management division of the home ministry gave a detailed presentation to home minister Rajnath Singh, national security adviser Ajit Doval and other top officials on the recommendations of the committee headed by former Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta.

“There is a need for better upkeep of fencing as over the years the maintenance work was neglected. Besides, the government needs to focus on Jammu area where much of the infiltration is taking place now,” said the source.

The committee found at least 12 vulnerable points in Jammu area, which need to be plugged.

“Fencing in synergy with technological solutions like laser walls, close circuit cameras, acoustic radars that map vibration have been suggested for the riverine areas where fence cannot be erected,” added the source.

The government also needs to increase manpower to guard these vulnerable areas, the committee has suggested.

“Many places like Kutch in Gujarat fencing cannot be erected due to saline water bodies. There is no habitation up to more than 30 kilometers inside the border. So there is need to increase deployment from the area where the habitation starts,” said the source.

The committee focused on guarding structures on the International Border that runs from Jammu to Gujarat. The line of control is guarded by the army and thus comes under the ministry of defence.

Of the 3,323km long Indo-Pak border, 1,225km falls in Jammu and Kashmir (including Line of Control), 553km in Punjab, 1,037km in Rajasthan and 508km in Gujarat. Total length of the International Border is 2,308 kilometers. Out of which 2,048 kilometers need to be fenced. As of now 1,958 kilometers have been fenced. Similarly around 100 kilometers of the border area is yet to be brought under floodlights.

For full coverage on the Uri attack, click here

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