Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra today favoured roping in graduates from prestigious IITs and IIMs for a special team which will analyse the needs of security forces and people living in border areas.
Calling for a “smart border management”, Vohra, who is holding the post of Governor of the state since 2008, also asserted that India’s borders need much larger investment and attention for the welfare of people living along these areas.
Speaking at a conference on ‘Homeland Security, Smart Border Management’ organised by FICCI here, he said such management was required for a state like Jammu and Kashmir which faces proxy war and infiltration attempts round the year.
“In the state where I am working, infiltration attempts are made throughout the year … across the high and snow-clad mountains, across the planes, riverbeds and nallahs,” he said.
Stating that India’s borders need more attention and investment, Vohra maintained that border management was no longer a general problem and called for creation of a dedicated force, trained specially for national security management.
“Such a force should comprise technologists, IIT-, IIM-graduates and not just IAS officers, to tackle and prevent illegal cross-overs. One needs special forces to tackle highly-trained terrorists,” the Governor said.
He said owing to the nature of threats Jammu and Kashmir has faced in the last three decades, particularly infiltration and proxy war from across the borders, it was not possible to deal with sectoral violence only through internal and external security.
Vohra said maintenance of public order in the hinterland was an extremely important component of border guarding. “If you have insurgency, militancy and a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir, or terrorism which can strike at any time from anywhere … that infringes our border guarding,” he said.
The Governor said since 2012, there have been four ‘successful’ fidayeen attacks sponsored by Pakistan against the Army and the police at places like Kathua and Sambha in the Valley.
“We have deficiencies along the borders … the nature of communication we have, the nature of facilities, equipment and gadgetries,” he said while drawing references to the suicide attacks at Dina nagar police station and IAF base in Pathankot.
“Therefore, we need to take into account smart border management. It is important to take care of the people living along the borders and behind the borders. Their welfare, needs and problems need to be attended to. A dissatisfied border community does not contribute to the border force or border management,” he said.
Noting that looking after the people living in forward areas goes a long way, he said, “Such people provide very strong support to the Army and the border security forces in terms of supplying information, logistical support etc.”
People think that securing borders is the responsibility of the Union government but the responsibility rests with everyone living in the forward areas, the Governor added.
Vohra, who released a report of FICCI-PwC titled ‘Smart Border Management-An Indian Perspective’, also called for much greater understanding between central and state governments in border security management.
Meanwhile, lieutenant general (retired) K T Parnaik raised the issue of China’s ambitious USD 46 billion worth China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, saying the project is raising military implications.
“India needs to step up its surveillance by using innovative technologies, develop good infrastructure on the borders to flaunt the nation’s capability, enhance socio-economic levels of the population living along the border areas and integrate the Army with the local forces and regulatory mechanisms,” he said.
To strengthen the border security management, he said, there is a need to build trust with the neighbouring countries through treaties, confidence-building measures and bilateral cooperation on disputed borders.
He also suggested that ex-servicemen could be settled along the border areas. Besides, the government could create local village volunteers’ force and local scouts by providing them proper trainings.
G K Pillai, chair, FICCI committee on homeland security and former union home secretary said with the opening up of borders for trade and economic activities, there is a need to create a smart border management system as the people living along Myanmar and Bangladesh borders do not respect the boundaries and it is an issue that needs to be addressed.