Umbrella scheme of Border Infrastructure & Management (BIM)

  • IASbaba
  • February 22, 2022
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Umbrella scheme of Border Infrastructure & Management (BIM)

Part of: Mains GS-3: Security challenges and their management in border areas

In News: The Modi Government has approved the continuation of the Central Sector Umbrella Scheme of “Border Infrastructure and Management” (BIM) over the 15th Finance Commission Cycle from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

  • Will strengthen the border infrastructure for improving border management, policing and guarding the borders.
  • Help in the creation of infrastructure such as construction of border fence, border flood lights, technological solutions, border roads and Border Outposts (BOPs)/Company Operating Bases (COBs) to secure the Indo-Pakistan, Indo-Bangladesh, Indo-China, Indo-Nepal, Indo-Bhutan and Indo-Myanmar borders.

Significance of border infrastructure:

India’s land border covers around 15,106 km sharing boundaries with Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Varied terrains, climatic conditions and hostile neighbours make its borders complex and border management an important part of its security.

  • The major border security challenges: cross-border terrorism, infiltration and exfiltration of armed militants and insurgents, narcotics and arms smuggling; illegal migration; left-wing extremism and separatist movements aided by external powers.
  • Various strategies:  India has actively pursued the strategy of strengthening of border policing and guarding, creation of border infrastructure like roads, fencing and flood lighting on the borders, implementation of the Coastal Security Scheme to strengthen coastal security infrastructure, implementation of Border Area Development Programme and development of Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) on the land borders of the country including setting up of Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI).

Economic Advantages of border road infrastructure:

  • One of the most important advantages is development of legal and amicable trade relations with neighbouring countries. Examples of it are trade through Attari-Wagha border and Border Haats with Bangladesh and many more with Nepal, Bhutan, etc.
  • Proper border road infra will reduce trafficking and smuggling, which is currently a big cause concern for India and neighbouring countries.
  • There is huge untapped regional trade potential in South Asia, where most of the countries share borders with India.
  • Another major economic benefit is inclusive growth and development. Border road infrastructure, especially in harsh terrains such as northeast and Jammu & Kashmir provides avenue for self-employment and boost to traditional small scale Industries.
  • Furthermore, tourism in beautiful and lofty Himalayas has not reached to its full potential due to improper road infrastructure. To tap full potential of natural tourism avenues we must further improve our border road infra.

Strategic Advantages of border road infrastructure:

  • One of the major advantages is that through border road infra India will be successful in pushing for her ambitious neighbourhood first and act east policies. It will act as soft power in terms of creating people to people contacts. Best example of this is the most recent project of Kartarpur Corridor.
  • Border road infra helps in maintaining peace and stability by controlling the security concerns related to inter-region and intra-region issues.
  • The task of national integration which started with independence of India and still going on will be incomplete without border road infra. Connectivity and inclusivity are the important tools for national integration of far-flung areas such as Northeastern states and Ladakh, etc.
  • Economic avenues provided by such infra definitely leads to strategic benefits within and outside country to control menace of terrorism and secessionists’ activities.
  • Another important advantage of border roads is in proper and swift disaster management. Difficult and harsh terrains of Indian borders and relatively low development of bordering countries make it inevitable for India to prepared and self-sufficient to handle any kind of disasters.

Challenges ahead:

  • Rough and difficult terrain
  • Weather and Climatic conditions
  • Seismically active areas in most of the border
  • Cease fire violation and border intrusions
  • Inadequate manpower, funds with Border Road organisation (BRO)
  • Redtapism and bureaucratic delays in projects

India in geostrategic location:

  • Strategic location of the region: Countries of this region share borders with China, Afghanistan, Russia and Iran. Tajikistan is located in proximity to the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. This region is seen as a Eurasian bridge, connecting countries of Asia to Europe.
  • India-Pakistan: Pakistan has a geostrategic location in South Asia where it will use Gwadar Port as a major trade route and a future trade hub. The importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and with it the Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the One Belt One Road or the Silk Road Economic Belt
  • India- China: One is Aksai Chin, a virtually uninhabited high-altitude desert expanse of about 37,000 square kilometres. Aksai Chin lies between the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, and China’s Xinjiang province, both regions that are also riven by separatist conflicts. On the other side, Arunachal Pradesh, a diversely populated hill region with a population of around 1.4 million people spread out over 84,000 square kilometres is also a geostrategic location.
  • India- Nepal: holds a significant geopolitical position in the Himalayan region of the South Asia due to its geostrategic location acting as a buffer state between the two Asian giants- India and the China. 
  • India- Bhutan: It is a sandwiched between two powerful nations, India and China. Because of its proximity to both the countries. India, is a close neighbour, has traditionally played a significant role in Bhutan. On the other hand Doklam plateau is an area with a plateau and a valley which lies on the Bhutan-China border, near India.
  • India-Myanmar: The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project will connect the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Myanmar by sea. Major strategic and commercial transport route connecting North-East India, and South Asia as a whole, to Southeast Asia
  • India- Bangladesh: Lying between the Himalayas in the north and the Bay of Bengal in the south, it offers the only land route connecting the two regions. Any invasion into South Asia from the East must pass through Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s close proximity to both India and China adds further to its geographic importance.

News Source: PIB

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