Counter Infiltration Strategy and CIBMS, News and Discussions.

janme

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Edit :- I am posting news articles along with dates to have better idea of the chronology of the events, I might even posts articles as back as 2003, so feel free to juggle the order of the posts after a while.

Date :- September 17, 2018



"Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday to inaugurate two pilot projects of 'smart' border fencing built under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) programme "

"The two projects, each covering a 5.5 km-border stretch along the IB in Jammu, are set to get a first-of-a-kind high-tech surveillance system that will create an invisible electronic barrier on land, water and even in air and underground, helping the Border Security Force (BSF) detect and foil infiltration bids in the most difficult terrains.

CIBMS involves deployment of a range of state-of-the-art surveillance technologies -- thermal imagers, infra-red and laser-based intruder alarms that form an invisible land fence, aerostats for aerial surveillance, unattended ground sensors that can help detect intrusion bids through tunnels, radars, sonar systems to secure riverine borders, fibre-optic sensors and a command and control system that shall receive data from all surveillance device in real time.

The programme is a more robust border management system which is seamlessly integrating modern technology with human resource, a Home Ministry official said."

""Based on integrated border management system, this virtual fence would be first of its kind initiative in India," said the official. "
 
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janme

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Date :- March 5, 2019


"Home minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to inaugurate BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) on Tuesday, under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS), on the India-Bangladesh border in Assam. The project will bring under electronic surveillance a "highly-porous" riverine section — consisting of 'char' (sand islands) and innumerable river channels.

With this project, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) aims to keep a check on illegal immigration and smuggling of arms, ammunition, drugs and cattle."

What is BOLD QIT?

BOLD-QIT is a project to install technical systems under the CIBMS, which enables the Border Security Force (BSF) to equip India-Bangladesh borders with different kinds of sensors in the unfenced riverine area of Brahmaputra and its tributaries.

While the BSF is responsible for safeguarding the 4,096 kilometre-long International Border with Bangladesh, at various places, it is not possible to erect border fence due to the geographical barriers.

The "smart fencing" will be operationalised in the 61-kilometre section of the international border in Dhubri district, where the Brahmaputra river enters into Bangladesh.

In January 2018, the information and technology wing of BSF undertook BOLD-QIT and completed it in time with the technical support of various manufacturers and suppliers.


Following the completion of the project, the entire River Brahmaputra has been covered with data network generated by microwave communication, optical fiber cable, digital mobile radio communication, day-and-night surveillance cameras and also an intrusion detecting system.

These modern gadgets provide feeds to BSF control rooms on the border and enable the armed forces to thwart any possibility of illegal cross bordering or crimes near the vicinity."
 

janme

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Date :- September 7, 2018


The pilot projects of approximately 5 kilometers of the stretch each and costing around 6-7 crores per project are being handled by two private firms – TATA Power SED and DAT Con. "

"In case of a threat, quick reaction teams (QRT) will intervene and neutralise it. The BSF plans to put up a CIBMS in areas all along the Indo-Pak and India-Bangladesh border, after successful completion of the pilot projects and their feedback, where it is a key challenge to secure the borders due to the nature of the terrain as well as to check cross-border infiltration and smuggling."

"Amid understandable enthusiasm for technological solutions, some hard realities need to be kept in mind. Let’s enumerate some of the challenges. First, the selection process for pilot projects has been under dispute. Moreover, there is a lack of clarity regarding the role of private vendors providing CIBMS technology. One of the firms, TATA Power SED claims the indigenous element in CIBMS as part of ‘Make in India’ endeavour.
If that is so, what about the local manufacturing of LORROS and Thermal Imagers except Hand Held Thermal Imagers (HHTI)? One need not forget that CIBMS’ multi-tier security ring at the border indents to use a variety of sensors, such as Thermal Imager, Radar, Aerostat, Optical Fiber Intrusion Detection System, Unattended Ground Sensor and Underwater Sensors. We have not heard much about how and when these equipments will get manufactured in India. Underground sensors can detect about 5 metres.

Third, helium-filled Aerostat balloons can provide an aerial 24/7 surveillance and communications, but they can also be an ideal shooting practice range for counter border guards. Moreover, one time use or refilling it is likely to cost approximately rupees one lakh, calling into question the financial sustainability of the project.

Fourth, lack of well-trained technical manpower is a nagging issue. Due to a rotational policy of the border guarding forces, the expertise acquired by the border personnel risks being lost as soon as the private firms leave the project site, hampering the technical capability.

Fifth, repair and maintenance is a vital aspect. The fact cannot be ignored that there is a strong correlation between sophisticated technology and human adaptability. What specific policy has been framed to integrate the technology being utilized for CIBMS with the technical manpower operating it? After all, everybody with considerable practically experience on border security in India’s context is painfully aware as to what actually happens when technical equipments in need of urgent repair are forced to remain unused for unusually long spells because of procedural and bureaucratic loopholes. Have they been plugged?"
 

janme

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Year :- 2009


"Intercepts revealed that a group of five to seven militants of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfit were launched from Dandot area of PoK (half of Dandot village falls in occupied Kashmir) last night by Pakistan Army, which fired on the Indian posts at Tarkundi, adjacent to Dandot, to give covering fire to the militants and engage troops in firing to divert their attention from intrusion."

"Sources said maximum concentration of Pakistan Army and ISI to push the infiltrators was in Mendhar sector in Poonch district where some passes were available for intrusions. As the passes have been plugged, the infiltrators were finding it hard to sneak-in. "

"It may be mentioned here that militants from upper reaches of Doda and Reasi belt have been sending frantic messages to their mentors across the LoC to push militants with weaponry as they were running short of cadre and weapons. "
 
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janme

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Year :- 2009

"As per police figures, 342 infiltration attempts were made from across the border in 2008, while 2007 and 2006 reported 535 and 573 such attempts along the LoC and IB in J&K. "

"The highest number of 1,373 infiltration bids took place in 2003(A year before fencing completed?) followed by 537 in 2004 and 597 in 2005.

An estimated 57 militants crossed over to this side in 2008 along LoC, followed by 311 militants in 2007 and 317 in 2006.

"We have strengthen the deployment along the International border, where infiltration bids have shot up. Where we feel there is need for more forces, it is being addressed to on an urgent basis. The winter border management plan has been put in place", Inspector general of Border Security Force (BSF), Jammu frontier, A K Sarolia had said.

As many as 41 infiltrating militants were killed this year as against 80 infiltrators last year along the LoC."
 

janme

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Year 2016


"While eight infra-red and laser beam intrusion detection systems are "up and working" along as many vulnerable and sensitive areas of the international border (IB) in Punjab, four more will be operationalised in the next few days, a senior official of the Border Security Force (BSF) said. "

"The decision to install these laser walls was taken by the BSF two years ago keeping in mind the vulnerability of the border in these areas as barbed wire fencing could not be installed in many infiltration prone areas due to treacherous terrain or marshy riverine topography"

"After the Pathankot terror attack, where it was suspected that terrorists crossed over from Pakistan by breaching the border from Bamiyal area in Punjab, Union home ministry and BSF sped up the deployment and activation of these walls along the long and winding border.
A total of 45 such laser walls will be installed in these areas along the international border in Punjab and Jammu, a blueprint prepared in this regard and accessed by PTI said. "

"He said sensors were being monitored through a satellite-based signal command system and armed with night and fog operability tools."

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This laser fencing sytem has been developed by DRDO.
source :- 40 laser fence units put along border, say DRDO staff.

The only pics that I found are from DRDO website.



Laser fencing.jpg
Laser fencing1.jpg
 

janme

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The SBInet Programme
Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) in November 2005 and described it “as a departure from the traditional ways of thinking about border security”.9 In April 2006, the DHS launched the high-tech component of the Secure Border Initiative-network called SBInet. SBInet was to comprise of “surveillance technologies, such as sensors, cameras, and radars, as well as command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) technologies, including software and hardware to produce a Common Operating Picture (COP).”10 SBInet was implemented as a pilot project along two stretches of the US-Mexico border spanning 53 miles in the Tucson sector. The projects were operationalised in February and August 2010 in Tucson and Ajo respectively.

But the programme did not prove to be a success story in border surveillance. In 2010, the DHS conducted an assessment of the SBInet programme to evaluate its viability and cost effectiveness based on inputs from field agents at the border, quantitative and science-based analysis of alternatives, and scientific analysis of in-house experts.11 The assessment brought out a number of lacunae. It revealed that the system suffered numerous technical glitches such as a large number of false alarms, line of sight constraints, unreliable information transmission, and equipment malfunction. The programme also suffered from shoddy testing and missed deadlines. Based on the assessment, the DHS concluded that the SBInet programme was not viable and cost effective as it had resulted in tremendous cost escalation to the tune of US$ 1.4 billion. It further stated that the programme did not and could not provide a single technological solution to border security. In light of the poor assessment report, the SBInet was finally shelved on January 14, 2017.

It is noteworthy that SBInet was not the first high-tech border surveillance programme to have failed. Between 1997 and 2006, the US Department of Justice and the DHS had spent US$ 439 million on two electronic surveillance projects — the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System (ISIS) and its successor American Shield Initiative — only to abandon them because of system failures.12 The assessment reports of those two programmes had similarly stated that 90 per cent of the sensor alerts were ‘false alarms’. Only two per cent of sensor alerts along the Mexican border resulted in apprehension, while along the Canadian border the figure was less than one per cent.13 Like SBInet, these surveillance programmes were touted as force multipliers, but border patrol could not quantify the force multiplication benefits. Besides its many flaws, the ISIS was severely undermanned, especially in monitoring the output of the surveillance system.14

Criticisms of SBInet and parallels with the CIBMS
One of the criticisms levelled against the SBInet programme was that while the DHS was clear that it wanted a technical infrastructure that would complement the two other components, i.e., tactical infrastructure (border fence) and personnel, it was vague about the kind of electronic surveillance system it was seeking. So, instead of formulating well defined objectives and providing clear specifications, the DHS asked prospective contractors to create their own vision for the project. The DHS also failed to specify performance metrics to judge the final product.15

In the case of the CIBMS, a similar dependence on vendors for designing a suitable surveillance system can be observed. Thus, the BSF’s request for proposal advertised on March 22, 2016 clearly states that, based on the information provided by the BSF, bidders must arrive at their own conclusions about the solution needed to meet the requirements projected. Bidders were also asked to quote their own prices for the products they were offering.16 This clearly demonstrates that the BSF does not have the required technical expertise to offer clear guidelines to the vendors so that they can provide suitable products. This fact is further evidenced by media reports that the two attempts at testing the system were stalled due to technical mismatch and budgetary projections. It has also been alleged that because of lack of technical knowledge and market research, the BSF decided to waive off 50 per cent of the scores for critical requirements in order to accommodate vendors quoting low prices, thereby compromising surveillance capabilities.17

Another criticism of the SBInet was that the Custom Border Patrol (CBP) had claimed that its own officers were capable of managing the SBInet from command and control centres. In reality, they did not have the required expertise and handed over electronic surveillance to the contractors with little direction or oversight. Various reports highlighted the department’s over-reliance on contractors not only for carrying out departmental functions but also to oversee the management and outsourcing of these projects. In short, there were no systems in place to “oversee and assess contractor performance and effectively control cost and schedule.”18

In the case of India, it is widely accepted that the operation and maintenance of the existing sophisticated equipment remain a problem. At present, many of the high-tech surveillance devices deployed by the BSF are not optimally utilised because the required technical expertise is not uniformly available among the force’s personnel. Furthermore, the exorbitant cost of the electronic devices and the lack of easy availability of spare parts act as a deterrent against their use.19 As regards the establishment of a command and control centre, it is to be seen whether BSF officials have the required competence to manage it. Even if the control centres are manned by BSF officials, centralised decision making could hamper timely and effective response on the ground given that detection and interception of infiltrators at the border require a quick response which is achieved only through a decentralised decision making process. Besides the lack of technical expertise, erratic power supply and adverse climatic and terrain conditions in the border areas could potentially undermine the functioning of the sophisticated system.
 

janme

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Is this how the idea of fencing the borders dawned on our planners?

Year:- 2002


The United States Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, has proposed using high-tech ground sensors along the Line of Control that divides Indian and Pakistani Kashmir, to prevent infiltration by militants.
The offer of US technology came as Mr Rumsfeld backed India's claims that al-Qaeda militants were probably operating in Kashmir, although he could offer no proof.


India's junior Foreign Minister, Omar Abdullah, said Mr Rumsfeld's acknowledgement of possible al-Qaeda operations in Kashmir was a "very important development for India" but he rejected suggestions that foreign monitors be used in the state.
"Our troops are well capable of dealing with the situation themselves, and there is absolutely no possibility of foreign troops operating in any territory in India," Mr Abdullah said.
Mr Rumsfeld, speaking after talks with Indian leaders in New Delhi, said: "I have seen indications that there are al-Qaeda operating near the Line of Control, but I do not have hard evidence of precisely how many or who or where."

Mr Rumsfeld did not say on which side of the line al-Qaeda fighters were believed to be operating. When asked if US forces would take the hunt for them into Kashmir, he did not answer the question directly but praised Pakistan's help.
"Specifically, in the case of al-Qaeda in Pakistan, the Pakistan Government has been very co-operative with the United States in helping to locate and, in a number of instances, they have actually captured al-Qaeda and turned them over to us, which has been a very helpful thing."

A source at the Indian Defence Ministry has said Indian forces shot dead two heavily armed al-Qaeda fighters on Sunday.
"There are reports of two groups of al-Qaeda having sneaked in, but that needs to be confirmed," said Rajinder Bhullar, the Kashmir intelligence chief of India's paramilitary Border Security Force.
The groups comprised 40 to 50 men in northern and central Kashmir, and they had been heard speaking Arabic, he said.


Referring to the use of US technology to help monitor the situation, Mr Rumsfeld said: "Needless to say the goal is to see that there is not infiltration across the Line of Control and that there are not terrorist acts."
Mr Rumsfeld's support for the al-Qaeda reports angered Pakistan, where the presidential spokesman, Rashid Qureshi, said: "I don't know where they got this from. It seems they believed Indian propaganda."

Mr Rumsfeld later flew to Islamabad, where he said on arrival that he had brought "some ideas" to try to defuse tensions.

Indian diplomatic sources told CNN that US and Indian officials had reached an agreement in principle for "sharing and evaluating intelligence inputs in a more organised way" across the Line of Control.
 

janme

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Year :- 2013


According to a report by the IB, there are at least 70 persons working on the border areas who facilitate infiltrations into India. Not only do these persons help Lashkar operatives cross over into India, but also provide them with crucial logistics about the Indian Army.

These persons provide details about the movement of the Indian forces which not only helps the Lashkar, but also the Pakistan army.

For the recent operation, the Lashkar had hired a person by the name Ismail Langda and he was paid a sum of Rs 5 lakh for the same, according to a source. An IB report states that these persons are locals and their job is to provide information about Indian security agencies.

They are hired on a salary of Rs 40,000 per month and bonuses are paid after successful completion of an operation.

They are first chosen by the headhunters of these terrorist groups and later sent to Saudi Arabia or Pakistan where they undergo training. For the first couple of months, they settle into the place and get themselves familiar with the areas and the operations of the Indian forces.

Their standing instructions include not using cell phones or emails to communicate. All the information passed on is through word of mouth for which they have a fixed set of agents, the report states.

The report further states that among the 70-odd persons hired for the job, there are some who gather information while others just help with the infiltration. However, for the Lashkar and the ISI, the more crucial role is played by the informers, based on which they decide on sending in their forces.

The report explains the manner in which these persons work; it states that the entire operation starts in Pakistan with the ISI directing the Lashkar to commence the infiltration process. There are camps in Pakistan which are frequented by the Lashkar and ISI operatives who then draw out the plan.

The decision to infiltrate is taken only once the informer provides all details regarding the situation and the movement of the Indian security forces.

Then there are porters to help these infiltrators carry arms and these persons are aided by the ISI guides who help a safe crossover. Prior to the crossover, a motivational speech is delivered by the head of the Lashkar, the intelligence report states.

The says that most of these persons who aide the Lashkar often act as double agents and even the military intelligence would suggest that a thorough check ought to be kept on the same.

“It becomes extremely difficult for the agencies to ascertain the credentials of each and every person, since most of them are Indian locals,” informs a source.