Homeland Security 2016 – Smart Border Management
September 6-7, 2016, FICCI, New Delhi
Write-up for Media Partners
There is a need for National Security Policy for effective management and guarding of India’s borders: Mr. N. N. Vohra, Hon’ble Governor of J & K
Need for formal agreements and joint mechanisms between India and its neighbouring nations toensure elimination of illegal crossovers: Mr. Kiren Rijiju, Hon’ble MoS for Home Affairs, Govt. of India
India should develop national security doctrine & strategic culture for dealing with security issues: Mr. Ram Madhav Varanasi, National General Secretary, BJP
The eighth edition of FICCI’s Homeland Security programme was organised in partnership with ‘India Foundation’ and was inaugurated by Mr. N. N. Vohra, Hon’ble Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Govt. of India. The two day conference was held on September 6-7, 2016 at FICCI, New Delhi. The theme of this year’s program was Smart Border Management.
The conference brought together experts from the Government, Central Armed Police Forces, Indian Navy, Coast Guard, State Marine Police, the Border Communities and the Industry to discuss and debate issues posed by various types of borders and to delineate strategies, systems and solutions to tackle such specific problems. The conference focused on: Challenges, threats and peculiarities of borders; Emerging technologies for perimeter security; Coastal & maritime security; Infrastructure for border communities; Significance & aspirations of public participation in border security; Economic benefits from border management; and, Role of UAVs and drones in border security.
In his Inaugural Address, Governor Vohra said that it was incorrect to believe that the Central Government alone was responsible for the effective and efficient border security. Maintenance of security of the hinterland was extremely important and because of threats such as infiltration, proxy wars and insurgency, it was crucial to see that welfare and needs of the people living along the borders were attended to.
This approach, said Mr. Vohra, would go a long way in providing strong support to the Border Security Force and the Army by way of information on border incursion and logistics support.
Mr. Vohra underlined the need to create dedicated forces trained specially for national security management. Such a force should comprise technologists, IIT, IIM-graduates, not just officers, to tackle and prevent illegal cross-overs, he said.
Governor Vohra also called for much greater Centre-State understanding in border security management so that both the Central Government and the State Governments were on the same page insofar as issues such as the need, timing and magnitude of deployment of forces for border security was concerned.
On the occasion, the Governor released the FICCI & PwC report titled ‘Smart Border Management-An Indian Perspective’.
The conference witnessed the participation of over 350 delegates and provided a platform for business discussions, engagement and interaction. Other than Inaugural and Valedictory sessions, the two-day conference had 7 thematic sessions on various aspects of Smart Border Management in which more than 40 eminent speakers including Mr. R. N. Ravi, Chairman, Joint Intelligence Committee, Govt. of India;Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy, Distinguished Scientist, DRDO & Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri, Govt. of India; Mr. Y.S.Sehrawat, Chairman, Land Port Authority of India; ADG V. S. R. Murthy, PTM,TM, Additional Director General, Indian Coast Guard; Rear Admiral Sanjay Singh, NM, Director General Naval Operations (DGNO), Indian Navy; Lt. Gen. S. A. Hasnain, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM & Bar, (Retd.), Former General Officer Commanding 15 Corps; Mr. R. R. Bhatnagar, Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau; Mr. A. P. Maheshwari, Additional Director General, Border Security Force; Mr. S. S. Deswal, Additional Director General, Sashastra Seema Bal ; Mr. Anand Swaroop, IG-Provisioning, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, amongst others deliberated and shared their perspective on Smart Border Management.
Delivering the Keynote Address on day two of the conference, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, Hon’ble Minister of State for Home Affairs said that India’s security apparatus can be strengthened only by promoting trade and commerce on both sides of the border which will enable the border communities to develop. This borne out of the fact that people living on the Atari border with Pakistan were quite well off as they were actively involved in physical trade of goods.
Development and security go hand in hand and mere physical delineation of territories will not suffice, he said,adding that although India had fenced borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh and the Government was trying to make the security mechanism foolproof yet drug trafficking, illegal crossing and infiltration remains the order of the day. Referring to the pre-1998 era, Mr. Rijiju pointed out that India’s border policy was misplaced as development in terms of roads were ignored on the pretext that it was being done to prevent the enemy from using the roads to foment trouble. This, he said, was a defeatist approach as a developed border means a developed and secured country.
Post his keynote, the Hon’ble Minister of State for Home Affairs also chaired the session ‘Significance & Aspirations of Public Participation in Border Security’ where the panellists, who were from border villages, apprised the delegates about some of the issues faced by border communities and how the community could serve as a force multiplier in border management.
While delivering the Keynote Address during the Valedictory session on September 7, 2016, Mr. Ram Madhav Varanasi, National General Secretary, BharatiyaJanta Party, said that India needed to develop a national security doctrine and strategic culture for dealing with the issues related to its homeland security of which border management was a critical aspect. The country faced a great dilemma, he said, because to promote commerce there was a need for open borders but for ensuring security, a closed border was favored. Hence, there was need to find a way to reconcile the two situations.
To strengthen the security of the country, Mr. Varanasi said that the Government was addressing the issues such as lack of infrastructure in the border areas, amending the laws, infusing more funds for acquiring modern weapons and arming the forces with required capabilities. However, there was still a need to provide civilians on the border with facilities such as well-constructed roads, telecommunication and houses to win their trust and support.
Mr. Varanasi also touched upon the issue of coordination among the various security forces deployed along the borders and the ministries and departments in the Government. He said that it was a gigantic task to build a consensus among the varied forces and departments, which at times resulted in unnecessary delays.
Mr. Rajiv Mehrishi, Union Home Secretary, in his Special Address said that India’s vast land and maritime borders with six countries dictates the use of technology, infrastructure development, setting up of additional border out posts and use of interceptors boats for effectively guarding India’s border. At the same time, gainful economic opportunities needed to be provided to spur economic growth and promote internal security.
Mr. Mehrishi said that there were many security challenges such as new and increasing number of crimes; threat of terrorism & insurgency; increasing law and order situations; and management of disasters.
The Union Home Secretary said that there was a need for new and enhanced legal framework to deal with the challenges such as related to cyber security and to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles. Besides, constant reviews and updates to the legal framework were needed to deal with frequent changes in technology.