General Studies Paper 3 (Security Issues): Border management

Space technology in Border management

IAS Junior Mains Answer Writing June-Sep 2019 Schedule (Click Here)


Syllabus: General Studies Paper 3 (Security Issues)


Discuss the significance of space technology in border management, enumerate the steps taken so far in this regard.



India shares 15,200 km long land frontier with its surrounding countries, some of them being hostile neighbours like Pakistan and China. So, sealing the entire border becomes a major imperative. But variations in the terrain and topography are a huge challenge in achieving this task. So, utilising space technology is often touted as an effective way to overcome this challenge.


Significance of space technology in border management:

  • Timely Information:
    • The information received through various satellites is used by various agencies including the security establishment.
    • For instance, weather satellites can provide timely information about topographic features and weather conditions, which are critical to military and para-military operations.
  • Intelligence inputs and Surveillance:
    • Remote sensing satellites, radar satellites and satellites with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors are capable of providing day and night all-terrain and all weather inputs.
    • Earth observation satellites provide detailed images of hot spots where border crossings peak.
    • India uses the RISAT and Cartosat spacecraft to capture still images as well as high resolution video of the nation’s disputed borders.
  • Checking infiltration:
    • Deployment of Medium Altitude Long Endurance and High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), along with use of low orbit surveillance satellites can check infiltration and improve India’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities
  • Coordination between agencies:
    • Border forces depend on intelligence shared by central agencies like IB, RAW and National Technical Research Organisation.
    • They also face poor communication issues in areas like Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir Valley.
    • With satellite technology border security authorities can exchange information or access critical data from headquarters, border checkpoints or on the-move border patrol units.

Steps taken in this regard:

  • Communication:
    • India has developed various satellites for communication purposes in military sphere, such as:
      • GSAT-7 or INSAT-4F, a multi-band military communications satellite developed by ISRO will enable Indian Navy to extend its blue water capabilities and stop relying on foreign satellites communication systems like Inmarsat.
      • GSAT-7A, which will augment Indian Air Force’s existing satellite-based communication capabilities.
    • Satellite imagery for border management:
      • The defence forces require specific scene-spot imagery according to the military’s area of interest to help them track developments along India’s land borders.
      • The Cartosat series is made for this purpose itself. Similarly, Geo-Imaging Satellite (GISAT) will provide live, real-time images of large areas of India.
    • A Space and Tech cell, within Home Ministry’s Border Management Division is planned to be set-up to improve border management and help in operations.
    • Navigation for use in border management by Indian Armed Forces is planned to be governed by indigenously developed NAVIC (IRNSS), reducing dependence on GPS.
    • Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-based GPS will provide navigation facilities for operational parties in high altitude, remote and difficult borders and Naxal areas.



Space technology strengthen island and border security by providing observation, communication and navigation capability to border guarding and internal security forces in remote areas. It will also help in planning and monitoring of development of border and island infrastructure. Use of space technology addresses challenges like lack of effective deployment of manpower and non-timely execution of projects. Also, steps should be taken encourage private sector as well. Knowledge exchange and experience sharing with other countries should be stepped up as well.  


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