India to seal entire border with Pakistan by December 2018

08 October 2016

India plans to seal the entire 2,300 km border with Pakistan in a time-bound manner over the next two years so as to deter the frequent terrorist raids, union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.

The centre also proposed to set up a `Border Security Grid' for all four states, which would serve as major deterrent for infiltration and other ''undesirable activities'' on the border. This would be in addition to Anti-Infiltration and Anti-Militancy Grids that exist in Jammu and Kashmir.

However, the legal routes of cross-border trade with Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir would be exempted from the purview of ''complete sealing'' of the borders, which included Poonch-Rawlakote and Uri-Muzaffarabad in Jammu and Kashmir, both falling along the LoC and Wagah border in Amritsar district of Punjab on the IB.

The decision was announced at a meeting of chief ministers and home ministers of the border states of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat held in the border district of Jaisalmer.

Rajnath Singh sought the active participation of the states to secure the international border with Pakistan by putting physical and non-physical barriers by December 2018.

He also called for active cooperation of the union home ministry, Border Security Force and participating states for faster implementation of infrastructure projects, effective monitoring, intelligence sharing and inter-agency cooperation in view of the prevailing security scenario in the country.

"The action plan will be frequently monitored at multiple levels to ensure we do not miss the deadline. It would be monitored not only by the security agencies but also the chief secretaries of the four states. A monitory framework would be prepared for monthly, quarterly and annual review of the implementation of the action plan," he said, while interacting with the media persons after the meeting.

For the difficult terrain, he said, besides the Army, the government will use technology for sealing patches on a difficult terrain. Singh proposed a new concept of a 'Border Security Grid' to be formed with all stakeholders as its members. "The proposed security grid is a new concept, which needs to be given a final shape. The centre will issue a notification about it later. All lapses will be monitored not just by the Army but even by chief secretaries of the various bordering states. Complaints will be adhered to in time," he added.

The union ministry of home affairs made a presentation in which the participants deliberated all the issues and gave their valuable suggestions. He also invited the suggestions in this regard from the participants.

India is likely to seek Israeli expertise for strengthening border fencing as the two countries share ''similar challenges'' on many fronts, including cross-border terrorism.

Israel had last month offered to India its expertise for strengthening border fencing, stressing that the two countries share ''similar challenges'' on many fronts, including cross-border terrorism.

Participating in the meeting Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje raised issues regarding modernisation of police for improving security in the hinterland and the peculiar problems due to sparsely populated desert area with shifting sand dunes. She suggested that an Integrated Check Post be established at Munnabao.

Deputy chief minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal drew attention to the problems of farmers having land near the border and the problems created by the smuggling of arms and drugs from Pakistan.

Minister of state for home affairs of Gujarat, Pradeep Sinh B Jadeja, pointed to the problem of securing the marshy areas of the Rann of Kutch, where fencing is not possible. There is a need for improvement in the construction of roads and use of technology for surveillance, he said.

Union minister of home affairs Kiren Rijiju also shared his views on the management of border situation. The home minister of Rajasthan Gulab Chand Kataria, union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, secretary (Border Management), MHA Susheel Kumar, DG BSF K K Sharma, chief secretaries and DGPs of the states and senior officers of MHA, BSF and CPWD also attended the meeting.

The meeting also reviewed the present security arrangements on the border in the wake of tension between India and Pakistan after surgical strike by Army on terror camps across the line of control in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

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