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Smart Fencing along Myanmar Border

Why is it in the news?

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs is planning to implement a smart fencing system along a 100 km stretch of the Indo-Myanmar Border to enhance border security.

More about the news

About

  • Smart fencing involves the use of laser-activated fences and technology-enabled barriers to secure vulnerable border areas.
  • Various surveillance and communication devices will be employed, including thermal imagers, underground sensors, Fiber optic sensors, radar, and sonar, mounted on platforms like aerostats, towers, and poles.

Need for Smart Fencing

  • Smart fencing will enable continuous border surveillance regardless of weather conditions, such as dust storms, fog, or rain.
  • The unfenced border and unregulated migration from Myanmar have contributed to ethnic violence in Manipur.
  • Intelligence reports indicate that insurgent groups based in Myanmar frequently cross the border into India to exacerbate the situation in Manipur.
  • Manipur is affected by the activities of multiple insurgent groups, including Meitei, Naga, Kuki, Zomi, and Hmar.
  • A Cessation of Operation (CoO) Agreement was signed with the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) group of Manipur in December 2022.

 Free Movement Regime (FMR) on the Indo-Myanmar Border

  • India shares a 1,643 km long border with Myanmar across states like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram.
  • The FMR is an agreement allowing border tribes to travel up to 16 km into each other’s territory without needing a visa.
  • Implemented in 2018 as part of the Act East policy, the FMR aimed to boost local trade and business, building on a history of trans-border commerce.

Criticism of the Free Movement Regime (FMR)

  • The FMR has faced criticism for inadvertently facilitating illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling across the border.
India’s Borders
  • India shares land borders with China, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • The diverse terrains through which India’s borders pass include deserts, mountains, glaciers, and forests, posing unique challenges for border management.

 India’s Border Security Strategy

Construction Activities

  • Initiatives by the Border Management Division include building fences, floodlighting, roads, Border Out Posts (BOPs), and Company Operating Bases (COBs) to secure borders and develop infrastructure in border areas.

Technological Solutions

  • Deployment of technological solutions along the borders with Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar.

Deployment of Troops & Surveillance

  • Indian Army and Border Security Force (BSF) deploy in multiple layers to create an anti-infiltration grid.
  • Border fences and surveillance devices aid in reducing infiltrations.

Borders with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar

  • These borders are primarily guarded by paramilitary forces, dealing with issues such as smuggling, human trafficking, arms trade, illegal migration, and suspected insurgent movement.
  • Porous borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar, and open borders with Nepal, present challenges in addressing illicit activities.

Drugs Challenge

  • Drones are used for smuggling drugs across borders, requiring more than border vigilance to combat this issue.
  • Improving the state’s intelligence network to apprehend drug dealers on the Indian side of the border is a top priority for security forces.

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