No matter what, Pakistan will never stop using terrorism as an arm of its foreign policy against India. It shields terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, to name a few, who harbor deep anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiments and help Pakistan in bleeding India with a thousand cuts.
As intrusions by Pakistani terrorists continues, on the Eastern border India has to keep a check on intrusions and constructions by the PLA as well. This has got the Modi government thinking about a dedicated satellite bandwidth for the BSF, ITBP and SSB for better border surveillance.
The primary purpose is to enable these forces to monitor the movement of Pakistani and Chinese troops in real time, track terrorist infiltration, map terrain and communicate effectively in remote areas. This would also help the forces in assessing the strength of soldiers and artillery deployed by neighbours near the border in case of a stand-off, like the recent one in Doklam.
A number of meetings by bureaucrats in the home ministry with the BSF, ITBP, SSB and ISRO, were held to discuss whether one satellite would be enough for all these forces or would each arm need dedicated satellites. The proposal is still in the early stages but the government is serious about it as it feels that the BSF which is India’s first line of defence needs to be made impregnable.
The defence forces have access to space technology but border forces don’t. They rely on intelligence shared by agencies like IB, RAW and National Technical Research Organisation.They also face poor communication issues in areas like Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir Valley. Satellite technology can help the border forces deal with such issues.
The armed forces use 13 ISRO satellites to watch land and maritime boundaries. The Navy has a dedicated military satellite, Gsat-7 or ‘Rukmini’ which monitors the Indian Ocean Region.The Cartosat-2 series was launched on June 23 has also hugely benefited India’s military surveillance capabilities.
The government is focusing on modernising the forces as a part of which the Ministry of Home Affairs is providing border forces with modern electronic surveillance equipment like night-vision devices, thermal imagers, battlefield surveillance radars, direction finders, unattended ground sensors and high-powered telescopes.
India has some of the most modern satellites in Asia and enabling border forces to reap the benefits of this technology would be a game-changer in dealing with terrorists and intrusions by Chinese troops.