|Published: December 2017|
New Delhi. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a meeting with the Chief Ministers of the Indo-Bangladesh Border (IBB) States, in Kolkata today The Home Minister, giving highest priority to making borders secure, had earlier conducted border specific review meetings for Indo-China, Indo-Myanmar, Indo-Pakistan borders.
In the meeting, the Home Minister underlined the need for securing the country’s borders and putting in place the systems to facilitate legitimate trade and commerce. He added, India has friendly relations with Bangladesh and all these measures will facilitate genuine trade and legitimate cross-border movement of people while curbing radicalization, illegal migration, and smuggling of cattle, fake Indian currency notes and drugs etc. He stressed on the need to prevent entry, at International borders, of illegal migrants some of whom have links with extremist groups for furthering anti-national activities with ulterior motives and posing threat to internal security.
In the comprehensive review meeting of border management, he emphasized the need to fast track border infrastructure development and to strengthen border security.
The Indo-Bangladesh Border covering 5 states of India including Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and West Bengal is 4096 km long. So far in 3006 km border security infrastructure of fence, roads, floodlights and border out posts (BOPs) are in place and works in the remaining 1090 km are yet to be started. Out of this, 684 km will be secured with fence and the related infrastructure, and the balance 406 km with the non-physical barriers. Although bulk of the infrastructure is in place or under construction, construction in some parts is yet to commence mainly due to land acquisition issues. The Home Minister urged the Chief Ministers to take personal interest to expedite land acquisition in the interest of national security. They assured to make land available at the earliest.
The areas to be covered by non-physical barriers are those where fencing is not feasible like rivers or nullahs etc. In these areas technological solutions of a networked combination of electronic gadgets like radar, day-night cameras, various types of sensors etc. all integrated in a command and control architecture will be used.
He highlighted the concept of Border Protection Grid (BPG) for multi-pronged and foolproof mechanism to secure our border. The grid will comprise of various elements namely physical barriers, non-physical barriers, surveillance system, Intelligence agencies, State Police, BSF and other State and Central agencies. BPG will be supervised by a State level Standing Committee under the Chairmanship of respective Chief Secretaries. BPG will ensure greater help for the States in the overall border security. For putting in place the BPG, he sought active participation of all stakeholders including State Governments.
The Home Minister said that the people living in the border areas are our strategic asset and need to be provided with all the infrastructure and socio-economic development facilities. He emphasized the importance and necessity of improved infrastructure such as roads, railways, health and education etc. and also boosting border economy in the border areas in a holistic and comprehensive manner. He asked the State Governments that while the Home Ministry was working to supplement their efforts, they must pay greater attention to these areas.
While appreciating the role of BSF for their unshakeable courage, skills, determination and dedication in securing this border, Shri Rajnath Singh reiterated that they should be more vigilant. He expressed satisfaction over the active participation and assurance of all cooperation given by the states.
The meeting was attended by Minister of State (Home Affairs) Shri Kiren Rijiju, Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and Mizoram, Union Home Secretary, Secretary (Border Management), MHA, DG BSF, Chief Secretary Meghalaya, Secretary, Home, Tripura.
Senior officers of MHA and other Ministries of Government of India besides State Governments also attended.