A smart fence now separates India-administered Kashmir from Pakistan, all you need to know

By Prarthana Mitra

The highly sensitive borderline between India and Pakistan recently received an AI makeover. A smart fence equipped with automated surveillance technology and alarm detection systems now studs the heavily manned border that runs through Jammu and Kashmir, as a part of the army’s comprehensive integrated border management system.

Unveiling the pilot project on Monday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that smart fences were a first of their kind in India. According to ANI, Singh reached the Border Security Force (BSF) headquarters at Paloura early in the day and formally launched the army’s latest initiative to secure the borders during his one-day visit to the state. “We are implementing a comprehensive integrated border management (CBIM) plan and are running a pilot project to make our international border (IB) along Pakistan secure,” Singh was reported as saying at the event.

The Home Minister on Monday discussed further measures with top BSF officers to address the current security situation along the International Border in Jammu region with the top brass of the BSF.

Structural details of the smart fence have not been released due to security reasons, but it is common knowledge that the Kashmir project was scheduled to go live in March 2018. In August 2017, BSF Director General KK Sharma had deemed this a national priority because anything happening at the India-Pakistan border is of international importance and has grave implications on the peace and security of the region.

Earlier this year, the BSF had operationalised the first smart fence over a border region shared by Bangladesh and Assam, another porous area which notes an annually heavy influx of unaccounted immigrants from the south. Moreover, the riverine stretch where the fence now stands, could only be manned by patrol speedboats thus far. The smart fence project, therefore, can help improve security over inclement terrain, where topography prevents the army from building outposts to check illegal migrants and insurgents.

In Kashmir’s case, the fence can protect residents who live in constant fear of militant violence, at a time when the UN has turned up the pressure on both governments to find a solution to the border dispute and human rights violations caused by it.

Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius

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