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Foolproof security on Pak border top on home ministry’s agenda

NEW DELHI,MANAN KUMAR : Post-Pathankot terror attack that revealed several chinks in the security armour of India, the Union home ministry has launched multiple steps to strengthen country’s western border with Pakistan.

Besides putting more foot on the ground by way of inducting one battalion (about 900 armed personnel) in Gurdaspur sector, the ministry is planning to strengthen the border by way of installing hi-tech surveillance equipment to check intrusion.

It has sanctioned one pilot project for deploying technological solutions in 2 patches of 5-6 kilometers of riverine gaps in the sensitive areas of Jammu frontier that has often been used by Pak-based terror groups to cross over.

“We are introducing force multipliers and hi-tech surveillance equipment to reduce stress level of troops and to enhance the surveillance of border. Talks are on with top suppliers in the world to source best available radars, infrared and thermal imaging cameras to detect terrorist movement. The aim is make the border virtually impregnable to infiltrate in next one year,” said sources.

Forty five more laser/IR (infrared) Intrusion detection systems are being installed in Punjab besides eight systems that have already been put in place.

An inquiry conducted after the Pathankot incident had found that the thermal imaging cameras were of little use along the riverine border because of dense fog and undergrowth of tall Sarkanda grass and bad lighting conditions and gaps in generator assisted lighting.

Besides the government has also tasked the border security force (BSF) to upgrade intelligence network and coordination among security agencies, including state police of all bordering states.

The home ministry has approved four pilot projects of approx. 30-40 kilometers in different terrains and sensitive riverine gaps in states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Gujarat and West Bengal to find vulnerabilities and suggest counters.

A five member high powered committee comprising deputy NSA Arvind Gupta, Advisor security in the home ministry K Vijay Kumar, former secretary (internal security) Ashok Prasad and Directors of IIT – Delhi and IIT Roorkee has been specially tasked to look into all these details.

Sources said the directors of the IITs have been asked to spell out the technical flaws in border guarding that allows terrorists to infiltrate and suggest mechanism to plug all perceivable loopholes.

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