- GS-3: Security challenges and their management in border areas
Context: Securing India’s borders against anti-national interests and at the same time putting in place systems that can prohibit such elements while encouraging genuine trade and commerce are the principles of effective border management.
- While addressing the two-day National Security Strategies (NSS) Conference, Union Home Minister Amit Shah stressed checking the demographic change in border areas and growing radicalisation in border areas.
- He stressed that police forces of the border states should keep a watchful eye on this development, which is very serious in nature.
India shares its borders with the following countries:
- Bangladesh 4096.70 km running along West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
- Pakistan has a border stretch of 3323 km running along Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
- China has a 3488 km border running along Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Ladakh.
- Nepal has a 1751 km border running along Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim.
- Bhutan has a 699 km border running along Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
- Myanmar has a 1643 km border running along Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.
- Afghanistan has a 106 km border running along the Union Territory of Ladakh but is presently under the illegal occupation of Pakistan
- Presently, we are facing the threats of illegal migrants from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and other countries.
- In 2004, then Union Minister of State for Home told Parliament that the country had 1.2 crores of unlawful migrants. Presently, India is home to over two crore illegal migrants.
- Following are the factors which facilitate illegal migration.
- Porous Borders: India has a long and porous international border with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Myanmar. The border passes through various natural and cultural landscapes.
- Ethnicity: The ethnic configuration of the people is similar on both sides of the borders, and it is quite challenging to discern between the Indian residents and others.
- Fertile Land: The flat and fertile land along the borders support dense human inhabitation along the border. There are many habitats situated right up to the borders.
- Social network: The social networks created between the old and new immigrants over decades are incredibly necessary for the movement of people stealthily across the border.
- Political patronage: Political parties have always utilised the susceptibility of the illegal migrants for their selfish interests and paybacks. For vote banks, the political parties sometimes protect the illegal migrants.
Such a massive influx of illegal migrants has grave consequences on the nation’s socio-cultural, economic and political aspects.
- Frequent clashes due to lack of security: Illicit migration has caused periodic clashes between India’s residents and migrants. This leads to their loss of life and property, thus violating their fundamental constitutional rights.
- Law and Order problem: The inimical elements undermine the rule of law and integrity of the country and indulge in illegal and anti-national activities, such as entering the country clandestinely, fraudulently acquiring identity cards, exercising voting rights in India and resorting to trans-border smuggling and other crimes.
- Political Instability: Fight for the ownership of limited resources, economic opportunities, and cultural dominance leads to conflict between the locals and migrants. Local political leaders exploit the conflict for their political games, thus great a great divide among the people.
- Radicalisation and terrorism: Fight against terrorism in India is sometimes viewed as an attack on Muslims, which is not true. But the ill migrants use this news to radicalise certain vulnerable sections of the Muslim community staying in border areas. This is the significant impact of illegal migration.
- Radicalisation can be defined as a road to terrorism, a trap of fundamentalism and extremism, and a path where violence is justified as a means to achieve the results.
- As per the reports of Uttar Pradesh and Assam police forces, there has been a 32% increase in the Muslim population in some border districts compared to the national average of 10-15%. They also reported that illegal camps comprising illegal migrants are cropping up in many border districts.
- The growth of illegal migrants is closely connected with national security, especially in the border areas. They bring religious, ethnic and linguistic conflicts leading to terrorism.
- Security agencies believe that demographic change is not just the increase in population but it could be a new design of infiltration in India.
- To plan and accomplish a terrorist attack, the terror organisations require foot soldiers, supporters & sympathisers, funds, arms and war-like stores, unrestricted mobility, and other logistics support to reach the targets. A radicalised section of society will enable such organisations to get these necessary support.
- Radicalisation process prepares the ideological, social, cultural, and religious basis for using terror as a weapon by these terrorist organisations. All the above factors need a fertile ground and a radicalised section of the society to provide that much-needed platform.
- Not only that these areas are also witnessing increase in radicalisation. Recently, five terror modules were busted in Assam.
- The first step to counter-radicalisation is to diagnose the problem correctly and holistically and then build a counter-narrative.
- At the same time, ensuring adequate border security and management is essential for preventing and countering the flow of suspected people in the border areas is equally important.
- The problem of radicalisation and terrorism in India cannot be tackled without understanding the phenomenon of terrorism in South Asia. Therefore our policy of counter radicalisation must co-ordinated as South-Asian efforts to address the challenges of radicalisation.
- Counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation should form the fundamental pillars of the overall national security strategy.
Main Practice Question: How demographic changes in border areas pose a threat to India’s security? What measures would you suggest to tackle this menace?
Note: Write answer his question in the comment section.