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India’s Border Management

GS-3 Mains Exam : Border Management

Revision Notes


 Question : Discuss the challenges faced by India in managing its extensive land and coastal borders. How do these challenges impact national security and socio-economic stability?

 India’s Extensive Borders:

  • Land boundary: 15,200 km (with Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh)
  • Coastline: 7,516.6 km (including Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep)


  • Diverse Terrain: Plains, hills, mountains, deserts, rivers, and marshes.
  • Unclear Demarcation: Land borders not fully demarcated, leading to disputes.
  • Resource Constraints: Border guarding forces may be under-resourced and ill-equipped.
  • Coordination Issues: Weak mechanisms for intelligence gathering and sharing between agencies.
  • Regional Instability: Political and economic instability in neighboring countries.
  • Cross-Border Issues:
    • Infiltration: Uncertain borders facilitate illegal entry.
    • Illegal Migration: Movement of people across borders without authorization.
    • Smuggling and Crime: Trafficking of goods, weapons, and drugs.
    • Human Trafficking: Entrapment of women and children in forced labor, sexual violence, and marriage.
  • Threats in the Northeast: Drugs, arms, and contraband entering through porous borders.
  • Coastal Security Concerns:
    • Mumbai attacks highlighted the need for stronger surveillance.
    • Sea routes used for smuggling people, weapons, drugs, and other illegal goods.

Note: All states except Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Delhi, and Haryana have an international border or coastline.

 Steps Taken for Effective Border Management

Government Initiatives:

  • Infrastructure Development:
    • Construction of fences, roads, floodlights, Border Out Posts (BOPs), and Company Operating Bases (COBs) along various borders. (India-Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar)
    • Border Infrastructure and Management (BIM) Scheme: Central Sector Scheme for border infrastructure development.
  • Upgradation of Border Guarding Forces:
    • MHA’s professionalization efforts for BSF, ITBP, SSB, AR, and Coast Guard.
    • Improved capabilities for better border guarding and management.
  • Technological Solutions:
    • Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) for improved situational awareness and faster response on India-Pakistan and Bangladesh borders (manpower, sensors, networks, intelligence, and command control integration).
  • India-Myanmar Border: Decision to construct a fence along the entire 1643-kilometer border.

Suggestions for a Robust System:

  • Balancing Security and Trade: Evolve a system that balances cross-border flows with national security interests.
  • Regional Integration: Align border management with India’s vision of integrating South Asia economically (SAARC, BIMSTEC, BBIN initiatives require connectivity and easier movement).
  • People-Centric Approach: Make border communities partners in national security.
  • Cooperation with Neighbors: Foster good cooperation with neighboring countries.
  • Modernization: Utilize advancements in space technology, IT, and infrastructure construction for better border management.
  • Coastal Security: Strengthen coastal police forces and address challenges faced by island territories.
  • Border Guarding Forces: Equip forces with adequate resources, training, and aptitude for border management.
  • Central-State Coordination: Ensure close collaboration between central and state agencies.

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