New Delhi December 17. Speaking as the chief guest at Field Marshal Manekshaw memorial lecture-2011 organized by the conclave of army veterans here at Teen Murti Bhawan Auditorium on the role of the bordering States in National Security Uttarakhand Chief Minister Maj. General (Retd.) BC Khanduri highlighted that curbing infiltration & cross border illegal activities should be given same importance as dispelling external aggression. He advised that in order to prevent terrorist activities on international border a special branch of intelligence and some helicopter units should be constituted. Their primary objectives would be collecting border intelligence and curbing, fake currency, drugs, arms, explosive smuggling, apart form keeping close vigil on the activities of the suspicious persons.
He asked the Union government to pay more attention on the border States by creating infrastructural support and strategic facilities like road, rail, air communications lines, depots of various war stores, hospitals, workshops and numerous other facilities required by the forces on war priority which would not only strengthen our defense mechanism to meet any emergency, and also deter the enemy.
Gen. Khanduri explained that our National Security largely depends upon Border States. The country having 15107 kilometers of land border running through 92 districts in 17 States and a coastline of 7517 kilometers touching 13 States and Union Territories apart from India’s total number of 1197 islands accounting to 2094 kilometers additional border area perpetually facing the challenge of cross-border terrorism; infiltration and ex-filtration of armed militants; narcotics trafficking and arms smuggling; illegal migration; left-wing extremism; and separatist movements aided by external powers.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister advised that both the Centre and the states need to create infrastructure with a view to improve connectivity in the border areas. He expressed concern over the present situation coining it far from satisfactory when compared to the developments that have taken place on the other side of the border in China. He maintained that improved infrastructure inside Border States would not only facilitate deployment in times of need, but also bring about a sense of assurance and comfort to communities living in border areas.
He said that any disturbing developments in a neighbouring country would cause sympathetic vibrations across our borders. If the relationships at the local level are positive such factors create amity and peace among the two nations but if tensions prevail at the local level no efforts at national level would help restore harmony. He endorsed that the agencies of the bordering states may play
more important role in controlling illegal trade, smuggling, transfer of currencies; actual and fake, human and live stock trafficking, weapons and the like. If not regulated and controlled effectively these activities become grave security hazard, hence the States should get substantial support to maintain this vigil. Gen. Khanduri praised the targeted development initiatives like the “Border Area Development Program” need to be encouraged further since they help in dispelling a sense of alienation and neglect among the population in remote border areas. Integration of communities living in the sensitive border areas will certainly act as a strategic force multiplier for the defence forces especially for vital intelligence gathering and support.
Former Indian Ambassador to the US Mr. Ronen Sen presided over the conclave and spoke about the strategic importance of the bordering States. He also supported the views expressed by the Chief Minister Gen. Khanduri. The President of the Conclave of Defense Services Veterans (CDSV) Lt. General NS Mallik welcomed the guests and gave a brief introduction of the issue. Other participants Air Marshall RC Bajpai, Former Air Officer Commanding in Chief (Maintenance Division) Indian Air Force, Brig. RK Sharma, Vice Chairman, CDSV, India and Mrs. Achala Kumar, Principal Executive Officer, Tata Services Limited also expressed their views on the issue. Several army veterans also graced the occasion and welcomed the guests.