Create Public Awareness to Tackle Border Security Issues: Madhav Godbole

December 03, 2014

New Delhi: Underlining important recommendations with considerable bearing on border security, Dr Madhav Godbole, Former Home Secretary, Government of India, today called for creating sufficient public awareness, with close involvement of the people in matters pertaining to management of international borders, and for better inter-state cooperation in these endeavours. Dr Godbole was delivering the 5th YB Chavan Memorial Lecture on ‘Securing India’s Borders: The Way Ahead' at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on December 2, 2014.

Equally important is follow-up actions by concerned authorities on policy decisions related to border security, reflected Dr Godbole. He was pointing at the “predecessor-successor complex in the government, often undermining the process of national security”. Dr Godbole, insisted that the borders should not be neglected by withdrawing border guarding forces for internal security or other duties, such as VIP security. “State governments may be persuaded to expand their police forces so as to reduce the draft on central forces,” he said, recommending, “strengthening of other forces such as the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) and the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) to take over VIP security duties.”

Further, while strongly advocating for an amendment in the constitution to bring in both police and public order under the concurrent list, Dr Godbole insisted that the measure would substantially strengthen the Central government and reduce the “menace of inter-state crime, organised crime, drug trade, clandestine activities etc along the borders”. He also called for restructuring of the state and police departments in the states and the centre, remarking that “the success of border management will depend on how efficiently the police function in the country”.

Delving into the history of border management in India, he said that the subject came up for comprehensive examination in the government of India for the first time only after the Kargil war, with the government setting up four task forces to look into the problems pertaining to national security. One of the task forces was on border management, headed by Dr Godbole himself. As a follow up to the recommendations made by the task force, a Department of Border Management was created in MHA in January 2004, which seems to have not made much difference to action on the pertinent issues, he stated.

Dr Godbole also referred to the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh that has changed the composition of several areas, not only in the states adjoining Bangladesh but also far off places like Delhi. “The question of passing a central legislation to prohibit employment of illegal migrants in any trade, profession, economic and commercial activity, service industries, etc. needs to be pursued vigorously” he insisted.

“The Task Force on Border Management (TFBM) had therefore suggested that a system of work permits should be introduced, under which a certain number of persons will be permitted to enter India for a specified period of time. The main advantage of adopting this policy would be that authentic information will be available regarding the number of persons who are permitted to enter the country in search of employment, he reflected.

Striking proliferation of madrasas on the Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Nepal borders was also pointed out as a problem that would have “serious implications for the over-all security situation in India”.