Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The invisible fence

Two years ago, I had an opportunity to visit the India-Pakistan border in Rann of Kutch area. For a person who lives hundreds of kilometers away from the nearest India-Pakistan border point, this was something totally unusual. The actual India-Pakistan international boundary is marked with white coloured pillars, 4-1/2 feet high, placed at every 40 meters and words India engraved on the face of the pillar facing the Indian side. About 150 meters inside the Indian side, I saw a three layered fence. There were two barbed wire-chain link fences running parallel to each other separated by about 6 feet from each other. The middle space was packed with coils of barbed wire spread out in a helical shape. There are observation tower erected all along the fence, with a certain fixed gap between two adjacent towers. All towers are manned 24X7 basis by border security force BSF. On Pakistan side too there are observation towers, but there is no fence erected. Reason for this is very simple; Pakistan has no fear of any encroachments from India, whereas for India there is always a concern that some infiltrators would make am attempt to come across.

India and Pakistan shared an International boundary that stretches to 3640 Km, which consists of demarked International boundary of 2900 Km and 740 Km of LOC or line of control in Jammu and Kashmir. BSF looks after the security of International border and LOC is monitored by Army units. About 85 % of the International border is fenced along with 550 Km of LOC, with a fence that looks very similar to what I have visited. In some sensitive places, the fence is 4 layered one. instead of 3 layers. There are 150000 floodlights fixed by India along the fence, making it visible from space. The balnace 15% of the border remains unfenced. This portion of border, mainly due to inaccessible hill tracts in Kashmir, Ladakh and riverine parts of Jammu can not be fenced and remains open to infiltration. Border security force watches such areas with vigil, but there are chances that terrorists, taking advantage of the terrain might be able break through.

Border security force is now planning to install Laser walls in such areas to stop infiltration from Pakistan. BSF feels that this is one solution, if implemented, would provide more effective border checks. The laser wall will ensure that anyone approaching the border or breaking the beam in an unfenced zone sets off an alarm. In principle it is a combination of detecting elements based on Laser Radar and other optical means that provide for intruder detection trying to cross a line.

Besides this BSF is also planning to employ some more high tech devices. Last year a major infiltration attempt was detected, when a tunnel was found being dug across the border. BSF is in process of fixing seismic sensors which would be planted underground along the border. These would record vibrations resulting from tunneling and alert the control room. This is largely being installed on the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Punjab, which see maximum tunnelling attempts by infiltrators. Another important way in which infiltration takes place is where infiltrators might be attempting cut a fence and enter or a smuggler may be trying to pass on a contraband packet. To put to an end BSF is planning to install thermal sensors on fences which would alert control rooms of any living being approaching the fence. This would work as an advance alert system.

Considering the enormity of task of monitoring a border that stretches to 2900 Km, BSF faces heavy responsibility. The laser wall and other measures will definitely make the border more secure.

17th December 2014


Times of India reports that An internal assessment by BSF of the recent ceasefire violations by Pakistan has concluded that much of the firing towards the close of last year and beginning of this year started after news of India bolstering its border defence with state of the art technology appeared in the media. The aim, say sources, was to disrupt such efforts by India. The BSF assessment is that the news of laser walls, ground sensors to detect tunnels and thermal imaging cameras being installed to stop infiltration frustrated Pakistan Rangers who launched an attack to disrupt the process.     2nd February 2015  

1 comment:

  1. Very nice post. There are so many things which we common man are unaware of. Hats of to our soldiers.