Govt. junks border wall plan

Moots 24x7 seamless virtual fence with sensors to stop infiltration from Pakistan

February 18, 2017 01:48 am | Updated 02:28 am IST - New Delhi

BSF soldiers patrol near the India-Pakistan international border fencing at Garkhal. File photo

BSF soldiers patrol near the India-Pakistan international border fencing at Garkhal. File photo

The Centre has given up its proposal to build a wall along the Pakistan border in Jammu, originally envisaged as a barrier to cross-border terror.

The raised embankment, initiated by the UPA government in 2013 after the twin attacks in the Hiranagar/Samba sector, was to come up along 179 km of the International Border in Jammu.

The wall proposal was opposed by Pakistan, which shot off letters to the United Nations Security Council in 2015 accusing India of converting what it called a “working boundary” into a “quasi international boundary.”

A top official told The Hindu that the plan for raising an embankment was not materialising and that the government would instead depend on ‘technological solutions’ such as a ‘smart fence’, a seamless virtual fence with sensors to identify any infiltration.

The Army too opposed the embankment, saying it would pose hurdles for their forward movement during military operations.

“There were multiple issues. Unlike the Line of Control, the IB is densely populated and has fertile agrarian land. Not many people were willing to let go of their land. We could hardly acquire 25% of the land,” said the official.

Since 2014, when the NDA government came to power, there have been more than 900 ceasefire violations along the Pakistan border in Jammu.

At the LoC, which is under the operational control of the Army, 541 violations were reported during the same period. In these violations, 57 locals and 26 security personnel were killed.

The Home Ministry is now working on a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) for 24X7 surveillance.


Pilot project under way

“Currently a pilot project is under way, where an integrated system of human resources, sensors, networks, intelligence and command and control solutions are being worked upon,” the official said.

“Our endeavour is to improve situational awareness to facilitate prompt and informed decision-making and quick response to emerging situations.

“A major component of this system will be the smart fence, which will be a seamless virtual fence, comprising various sensors and laser-based technologies,” he added.

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