What's New :

Issues related to Border Management

Published: 31st Jan, 2022


Recent developments at India’s border warrant a comprehensive review of border management to ensure the all-weather security of its borders.


  • India has 14,880 kilometres of land border running through 92 districts in 17 States and a coastline of 5,422 kilometres touching 12 States and Union Territories.
  • India also has a total of 1197 islands accounting for 2094 kilometres of additional coastline. There are 51 Bangladeshi enclaves (area involved 7,110.02 acres) in India and 111 Indian enclaves (area involved 17,158.13 acres) in Bangladesh.
  • In fact, barring Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Delhi and Haryana, all other States in the country have one or more international borders or a coastline and can be regarded as frontline States from the point of view of border management.
  • From Sir Creek to the Bay of Bengal, India's land borders present a geographical diversity of a unique kind.
  • Much of its borders are topographically difficult. Challenges in border management are peculiar. Hence, 'the proper management of borders is vitally important for national security.'


India’s Land Border Management

  • India’s border management is an integral part of India’s defence and commerce.
  • The state secures sovereignty through maintaining and regulating borders with neighbouring countries.
  • India shares a land border with 7 countries- Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
  • India’s border management comprises of border region development, communication, and coordination with the neighbouring states and programs to enhance the national interests of India. India has a multidimensional border management problem.
  • Managing land borders is very different from managing coastal and riverine borders.

Type of Land border

India has three types of land border: international borderline (IBL), line of control (LoC) and line of actual control (LoAC).

  • IBL is the demarcation that has been agreed upon and ratified by both the neighbouring countries, and has been accepted by the rest of the world.
  • LoC is the de facto border and separates Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from India’s state of – Jammu & Kashmir.
  • LoAC is the boundary line that separates Indian-held lands from Chinese-controlled territory. The disputed and unsettled nature of our boundaries (both land and maritime) has made their security much more difficult.

What are the persistent issues?

  • Sections of the boundaries are
  • The neighbours are often
  • Terrains are diverse and difficult.
  • Border areas are underdeveloped.
  • Connectivity with the hinterland and across to other countries is poor.
  • Border populations feel
  • Borders areas in remote parts are getting
  • Illegal migrations, which alter demographic ratios, present a major challenge.
  • The smuggling of contrabands, arms and ammunition drugs etc is rampant.

Coastal Borders

  • The management of Coastal borders is a problem of a different scale altogether.
  • The Mumbai terror attacks brought home the need to strengthen coastal surveillance.
  • Coast Guard patrols the territorial sea while the Navy operates in the high seas.
  • Sea routes are used to smuggle people, arms, drugs and other contraband.
  • India has made some progress in improving the coast surveillance but it is difficult to achieve total success.


  • The government is thinking of setting up a maritime commission to deal with coastal security.
  • This will help bring the required focus on the problem, improve the coordination and help monitor the various projects.
  • Coastal police need to be strengthened.
  • The use of technology becomes imperative in managing large borders, be it on land or the sea or the rivers.
  • In particular GPS, satellite surveillance become important.

Island Territories

  • The ANI are two groups of islands—the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, covering an area of 8,249 sq km.
  • The islands are governed as a single Union Territory by the Central Government of India, through the Andaman Nicobar Administration. 
  • The ANI are also home to India’s only integrated tri-service command of the armed forces—the Andaman and Nicobar Command for maritime surveillance and enhancing India’s strategic presence in the eastern Indian Oceanas it merges into the Pacific.
  • Being the common maritime space between India and Southeast Asia, the Bay of Bengal and the adjoining Andaman Sea are cardinal for peninsular India’s strategic manoeuvres.
  • At the same time, India’s aspirations in the Bay co-exist with its apprehensions over the belligerent rise of China in these waters.
  • As the sole archipelago of the Bay, striding important Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) and overlooking the Malacca Strait, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are extremely critical for India’s strategic interests.
  • However, for years since independence in 1947, the Indian government regarded the development of the islands with “benign neglect”, despite repeated proposals for the establishment of a transhipment port and bunkering facilities, amongst others.
  • While this passivity has made it difficult to undertake rapid construction measures, it had not been cultivated without reason.
  • The problems of island territories require a special focus and approach.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands are highly strategic as well as ecologically fragile.
  • We need special policies for the development of these islands. The same can be said of the Lakshadweep Islands.

Shekatkar Committee recommendations

  • Government has accepted and implemented three important recommendations of Committee of Experts (CoE) under the Chairmanship of Lt General D B Shekatkar (Retd) relating to border Infrastructure.
  • These were related to speeding up road construction, leading to socio economic development in the border areas.
  • On the matter related to creating border infrastructure, the Government has implemented recommendation of CoE to outsource road construction work beyond optimal capacity of Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
  • It has been made mandatory to adopt Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) mode for execution of all works costing more than Rs 100 crore.
  • New Technology like blasting technology for precision blasting, use of Geo-Textiles for soil stabilisation, cementitious base for pavements, plastic coated aggregates for surfacing, is also being used to enhance the pace of construction. 

Why multiple security agencies increases the complexity of border management?

  • India’s border sharing itself makes India’s task more complex than most other countries. This complexity is accentuated by the fact that along with the army, we have multiple other security agencies — the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and the Paramilitary Forces (PMF) — sharing the responsibility.
  • While the army is deployed along the LoC and AGPL, the Border Security Force (BSF) looks after the international border with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Guarding the LAC has been assigned to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Assam Rifles.
  • The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) is responsible for guarding the borders with Nepal and Bhutan.
  • The Assam Rifles looks after our border with Myanmar.

In a nutshell, in addition to the army, we have four agencies guarding borders with six neighbours. Conversely, maritime borders are guarded by a single agency — the Coast Guard.

Department of border management (DBM) 

  • department of border management (DBM) in the MHA was set up.
  • DBM has been spearheading the border management effort in the country.
  • Some of the tasks it has performed are: the construction of the border guarding infrastructure, construction of integrated check posts to facilitate trade and movement of people, socio-economic development of border areas.
  • MHA also equips and trains the border guarding forces.
  • A principle of ‘one border one force’ has been accepted to streamline the deployment of border guarding forces.

Issues emerged due to multiple security agencies

  • Lack of coherent policy: Due to multiple bodies, there is a lack of a coherent policy on training, planning and the conduct of guarding operations among various outfits.
  • Lack of coordination: Overall coordination is also affected.
  • Going by the instances along the western border, our adversary has often escalated violations by resorting to the prolonged use of military resources.
  • Similarly, their modus operandi has also undergone a qualitative change whereby they have buttressed border security by co-opting military battle drills and sub-unit tactics such as sniping, launching raids and ambushes on the Loc/international border by deploying regular troops.
  • Chinese provocations along the LAC are military operations. Clearly, the peace-time scenario is now by and large militarised.

How a ‘single security agency’ can solve India’s issues?

  • India needs a single security agency adequately equipped, suitably armed and trained in advanced military drills and sub-unit tactics to guard our borders.
  • The manpower and infrastructure should be created by pooling and merging the resources of the CAPF and Assam Rifles.
  • Further, to augment the battle efficiency, a fixed percentage of manpower, including the officer cadre, should be drawn on deputation from the army.
  • The proposed outfit, let’s call it the National Border Guard, (NBG), should have the explicit mandate to effectively retaliate against cross-border transgressions and stabilise the situation till the operations are taken over by the armed forces.

Global practice

Most countries have raised specialised and dedicated armed bodies for border security. For example-

  • Iran has the Border Guard Command
  • Italy has the Border Police Service
  • Russia has created a Border Guard Service
  • US has Homeland Security.
  • Closer home, in China, it is the People’s Armed Police, while Pakistan has a Frontier Corps for its western border and the Rangers looking after the Indo-Pak Border.

Way Forward

India's territorial borders, both land and sea, suffer from diverse physical, ethnic and cultural contradictions. While the state has a major role in securing war frontier, the populations along territorial peripheries, too, can play an important role in securing our interests. The people living in these areas are the most important ingredient towards a secure and safe border area. This would entail reconceptualising the concept of border guarding to effective border management, where local people became the centre of gravity of all actions. The border guarding forces have to evolve ways and means to mainstream the local population in the management of the border areas.

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now