space technology in border management

Space Technology in Border Management

Last year, government has approved report of Task Force created by Ministry of Home Affairs to identify areas for use of Space Technology in improving Border Management.

Key highlights of the Report:
  • Following areas have been identified for use of space technology: island development, border security, communication and navigation, GIS and operations planning system, and border infrastructure development.
  • Major recommendations of the report are to build capacity of border guarding forces (BGFs), to use space resources for security, operational planning and border infrastructure development.
  • With the assistance of the Department of Space, the Home Ministry would implement the project, which will strengthen islands and border security and facilitate the development of infrastructure in border and island areas.
  • To execute the project in a time-bound manner, short, medium and long-term plans have been proposed for implementation in five years in close coordination with ISRO and MoD.
    o In short term, immediate needs of BGFs will be met through procurement of high-resolution imagery and hiring of bandwidth for communications.
    o In mid-term, one satellite is being launched by ISRO for the exclusive use of the Home Ministry.
    o Over long term, the Ministry will develop ground segment and network infrastructure to share satellite resources by user agencies, develop a Central Archival Facility for storing various imagery resources and dissemination of the same to user agencies. The BSF has been designated as lead agency for its implementation.
  • Deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in remote areas will be also coordinated through 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-affected areas.
Role of Space Technology in Border Management:
Sealing the entire border is a significant challenge mainly due to variations in the terrain and topography like mountain ranges, sea, tropical forest or climate factors, including desert or thinly populated regions. Space technology provides one of the more effective means to overcome it.
  • Timely Information: The information received through various satellites are used by various agencies including the security establishment. For instance, weather satellites can provide timely information about topographic features and weather conditions, which are critical to military and para-military operations.
  • Intelligence inputs and Surveillance: through Remote sensing satellites, radar satellites and satellites with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors which are capable of providing day and night all-terrain and all-weather inputs.
  • Checking infiltration: by using low earth orbit surveillance satellites, which would in turn enable the blocking of infiltrators through suitable force deployment. In this regard, the active deployment of Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs will improve India’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
  • Defending the invisible: Earth observation satellites provide detailed images of hot spots where border crossings peak. India uses the RISAT and Cartosat spacecraft to capture still images as well as high-resolution video of the nation’s disputed borders.
  • Coordination between agencies: While defence forces already use space technology, border forces depend on intelligence shared by central agencies like IB, RAW and National Technical Research Organisation. They also face poor communication issues in areas like Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir Valley. With satellite technology border security authorities can exchange information or access critical data from headquarters, border checkpoints or on the-move border patrol units.
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