MHA to hold meeting with ISRO to strengthen border security

New Delhi: With an aim to further strengthen island and border security through space technology, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is to soon hold a meeting with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to plug in gaps and to facilitate development of infrastructure in border island areas.

During the meeting, the MHA officials will discuss ways to have better border management to plug in security gaps by using space technology at northern, eastern border and on island security as well, the sources further said.

There are several points on the border which is not fully fenced at northern border due to the hilly terrain and riverine belt in North and western border, while the 3,488 km long border with China is not properly demarcated and defined, the officials in the security set up said, adding that by using space technology, the security forces will have better eye on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

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According to sources, high officials from border guarding forces such as BSF, ITBP and SSB will be participating in the meeting with the senior officials of the ISRO to explain the need for the required technology in border management.

Apart from keeping eyes on both hostile neighbours in the north and eastern theatres, the lack of a proper communication system in these difficult terrains, poses a challenge for the border guarding forces, the officials in the security forces said, adding that they are solely dependent on radio communication. The radio communication has its own limitations due to heights and inclement weather, however some forces use satellite telephones for communications but that also has chances of interception by the enemy forces.

On January 17, 2019, then Home Minister Rajnath Singh approved a report of a Task Force created by the MHA to identify areas for use of Space Technology in improving Border Management. The Task Force headed by Joint Secretary (Border Management) and having members from BSF, Department of Space and Border Management Division consulted all stakeholders including Border Guarding Forces (BGFs), ISRO, National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) to finalise the report focusing on island development, border security, communication and navigation, GIS and Operational Planning System and the border infrastructure development.

The Task Force also recommended that the immediate need of the border guarding forces be met by procuring high resolution imagery and hiring of bandwidth for communications while ISRO would be launching a satellite for an exclusive use of the MHA.

The BSF was designated as lead agency for implementation of ground segment and network infrastructure including establishment of archival facilities. Deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in remote areas will also be coordinated by satellite communications, Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)-based GPS will provide navigation facilities for operational parties in high altitude, remote and difficult borders and Maoist infested areas.

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