Syllabus: General Studies Paper 3 (Security Issues)
Discuss how Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) is capable of addressing the gaps in the present system of border security. (250 words)
During the past couple of years, the Jammu sector has witnessed quite a few instances of successful infiltration by terrorists as a prelude to attacks on strategic installations prominent among these being the Pathankot and Uri terrorist attacks in 2016 and recent Phulwama attack. These incidents have not only raised serious concerns about the efficacy of the existing border security system but also a consequent demand for the deployment of high-tech border surveillance equipment by the BSF. To address the gaps in the present system of border security India has set up an ‘electronic wall’ named as (CIBMS) on the international border. In Jammu, this first high-tech surveillance system has been developed in two parts of the international border.
The CIBMS is touted as a more robust and integrated system that is capable of addressing the gaps in the present system of border security by seamlessly integrating human resources, weapons, and high-tech surveillance equipment.
- It has three main components:
- New high-tech surveillance devices such as sensors, detectors, cameras, ground-based radar systems, micro-aerostats, lasers as well as existing equipment for round-the-clock surveillance of the international border;
- An efficient and dedicated communication network including fibre optic cables and satellite communication for transmitting data gathered by these diverse high-tech surveillance and detection devices; and
- A command and control centre to which the data will be transmitted in order to apprise the senior commanders about the happenings on the ground and thus providing a composite picture of the international border.
- A composite picture would help senior commanders analyse and classify the threat and mobilise resources accordingly to assist the field commander in his response.
- The purpose of the CIBMS is to eventually replace manual surveillance/patrolling of the international borders by electronic surveillance and organising the BSF personnel into quick reaction teams to enhance their detection and interception capabilities.
- Other factors such as power back up, training of the BSF personnel in handling the sophisticated equipment, and maintenance of the equipment are incorporated into the CIBMS.
- At present, the CIBMS is being implemented along two stretches in the Jammu sector of the India-Pakistan border.
How CIBMS address the gaps in the present border security system?
CIBMS has been designed to protect the areas where physical surveillance is not possible, whether it is due to land area or river borders.
- This technology creates an invisible electronic barrier in land, water and air. This will help the Border Security Force (BSF) to identify and deal with the intruders who infiltrate by exploiting difficult terrains to their interest.
- Mostly, infiltration happens at night in such areas where the land is not flat. Under the CIBMS, many modern surveillance technologies will be employed. It will also have advance features such as thermal imager, infra-red and laser based intruder alarms. Intruders will be detected with the help of invisible ground fencing, aerial surveillance, and a unique ground sensor which will detect and inform the security forces about the movements of intruders.
- So far the intruders used to enter the border of India by digging tunnel, but now it will not be possible. Through the tunnel, radar and sonar systems, the boundaries of the river can be secured on the border. The command and the control system will receive data from all the surveillance devices in real time. After this, the security forces will be in a position to act quickly and thwart infiltration attempts.
- Cost effectiveness and suitability.
- Technical solutions are necessary to augment and complement the traditional methods of border guarding.
- They not only enhance the surveillance and detection capabilities of the border guarding forces but also improve the impact of the border guarding personnel against infiltration and trans-border crimes.
- Smart borders will not only strengthen security infrastructure but also can go a long way in reducing the loss of valuable lives of our soldiers.
- Besides, the idea has a potential to boost innovation in Indian companies and research institutes, which could develop cost-effective technologies.
Challenges ahead for CIBMS in India:
- In the case of India, it is widely accepted that the operation and maintenance of the existing sophisticated equipment remain a problem.
- At present, many of the high-tech surveillance devices deployed by the BSF are not optimally utilised because the required technical expertise is not uniformly available among the force’s personnel.
- The high cost of the electronic devices and the lack of easy availability of spare parts act as a deterrent against their use.
- Control centres manned by incompetent BSF officials and centralised decision making could hamper timely and effective response on the ground given that detection and interception of infiltrators at the border require a quick response which is achieved only through a decentralised decision making process.
- The lack of technical expertise, erratic power supply and adverse climatic and terrain conditions in the border areas could potentially undermine the functioning of the sophisticated system.
The technical support will increase the strength of the security forces. In fact, meeting with human resources, arms and hi-tech surveillance equipments will make the security of the border impermeable. However, caution must be exercised while advocating the use of high-tech and high-cost electronic devices for border security. The CIBMS, in future, could be deployed in other border areas besides Pakistan, especially India’s border with Bangladesh. The India-Bangladesh border is very porous which has resulted in massive infiltration of illegal Bangladeshis in Indian border states such as Assam.
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