Indian Army Updates

‘Smart walls’ for Indian Borders


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Smart fencing

Mains level : Border security of India

The new US President has stopped the construction of the much-publicized “border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico.

Q.Smart fencing along with physical fencing can protect major infiltration areas of Indian borders. Analyse its feasibility for India.

What is the news?

  • The Mexico–US barrier also known as the border wall is a series of vertical barriers along the border intended to reduce illegal immigration to the US.
  • Biden’s decision was confirmed, however, that an alternative has been offered — a ‘smart’ wall that replaces the physical and armed patrolling with advanced surveillance tech is the proposed future of border security now.

What is the Smart Wall?

  • The ‘smart wall’ technology could solve border security issues without the need for a physical barrier.
  • The wall would use sensors, radars, and surveillance technology to detect and track border break-ins, and technology capable of performing the most difficult tasks dedicated to border security.
  • The complete system of a virtual wall would consist of a radar satellite, computer-equipped border-control vehicles, control sensors and underground sensors.
  • Along with surveillance towers and cameras, thermal imaging would be used, which would help in the detection of objects.
  • The system would even be capable of distinguishing between animals, humans, and vehicles, and then sending updates to handheld mobile devices of the patrol agents.

Not a new concept

  • The concept is not new and the novelty of it cannot be directly associated with Biden.
  • Interestingly, the U.S.-Mexico border wall proposed by Donald Trump envisaged this concept.
  • A technology firm was sought to be hired by the Trump administration, and it was indicated that artificial intelligence shall be used at a novel scale to complement the steel barrier (border wall).

Feasibility for India

  • A question that now arises is whether such a project can be undertaken to secure Indian borders.
  • India has been struggling with the problem of terrorists and smugglers infiltrating into the country and efforts are ongoing to secure our borders and curb cross-border infiltration.
  • Therefore, it is proposed that it is high time we start envisaging the use of technology to help India secure its borders.

Various challenges

  • A critical factor that must be considered to enable the usage of such a system along Indian borders is that the terrain in the region is rugged, and, furthermore, not even clearly defined.
  • Hence, erecting fences, walls or any physical structures is extremely difficult.
  • A “smart” wall, however, makes use of systems that would be designed in such a way that they can operate even in rugged areas.
  • Imperatively, in the US various other benefits, such as cost-effectiveness, less damage to the environment, fewer land seizures, and speedier deployment are being noted.
  • This gives the concept an edge over traditional borders.

Benefits that Indian can reap

  • Notably, such a system, even if not feasible for our long boundaries, may still be deployed to enhance critical security establishments of the country and complement the already-existing physical fencing and walls.
  • This can no doubt secure the major infiltration areas.

Way forward

  • The attack on the Pathankot Airbase highlighted that often, it may become difficult to secure establishments due to their vast size.
  • Further, it is imperative for Indian armed forces to be well-equipped and simultaneously have the latest technological advantage over its enemies.
  • Experts must explore this idea to effectively counter the problem of cross-border infiltration.
  • Is it unfathomable to deploy a security system that clubs technology with traditional set-ups due to terrain and other problematic factors? This is a question for Digital India to answer.

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