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Space technology task force for border management in India

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has approved of a task force report to implement a border security-enhancing project using space technology. The task force was developed to identify areas for the implementation of technology to improve India’s border management.

This space technology includes satellites, support infrastructure, GPS systems, and other tech equipment and procedures.

The Ministry suggested that space technology can be leveraged to check suspicious activities around the 15,106 Kilometre land border and the 7,516 Kilometre coastline India shares with six countries (Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Nepal Myanmar, and Bhutan).

With help from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the areas that the task force identified include island development, border security, and communication and navigation. Also, GIS (geographic information systems) and operations planning systems and border infrastructure development.

The Ministry has created short, medium and long-term plans to ensure the project is implemented within the next five years. The report suggested the capacity building of BGFs (Border Guarding Forces) for the use of space resources for security, operational planning, and border infrastructure development.

The short-term plan entails that the immediate needs of the BGFs are met by the procurement of high-resolution imagery and the hiring of bandwidth for communication.

As a part of the medium-term plan, the ISRO will launch a satellite for the MHA to use, exclusively.

The long-term plan will include the development of a ground segment and network infrastructure to share satellite resources by user agencies. The MHA will develop a central archival facility to store imagery resources and for the dissemination of these resources to user agencies.

The Ministry said that the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in remote areas will be coordinated by satellite communications. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)-based GPS will provide navigation facilities for operational parties in high altitudes, Naxal areas, and at remote and difficult borders.

The Border Security Force is the designated lead agency for the implementation of the ground segment and network infrastructure (including the establishment of the archival facility).

The task force is headed by the Joint Secretary of border management. Members from the BSF and the Department of Space are also a part of the task force.

The MHA consulted stakeholders which included the ISRO, the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to finalise the report.

The Government has been using space technology for development in other areas of the country as well.

Last week, the Minister of State Development of the North Eastern Region said that space technology in India is no longer confined to only launching satellites. It has become an active participant in infrastructural and development programmes.

Space technology is used in the construction of roads, laying of railway-tracks and the channelisation of agriculture through soil health cards, and other techniques. This helps promote transparency in pro-poor programmes through applications such as geo-tagging in the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act).

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