Counter-Terrorism: India, Israel And Border Security


September 4, 2017: In mid-2017 India revealed details of what was actually going on in the northwest where two five kilometer (3.2 miles) sections of the border with Pakistan where some new border security equipment and troop deployment tactics were being tested. India described this as a test of its new CIBMS (Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System) that, if successful would be deployed along most of the 6,300 kilometer long Indian borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The test involves new motion sensors and software that detects any suspicious movement along the border (most of which contains some kind of fence and sensors already). A sensor alert activates the nearest day/night video cameras at a manned border outpost and alerts the closest QRTs (Quick Reaction Teams). If the software interprets the sensor and video data as a likely to be people crossing the border one or more QRTs are sent out. The QRTs come from small QRT bases or facilities in existing military bases near the border. The QRT personnel are usually at the same bases where other troops monitor the network around the clock and also send out maintenance teams (sometimes accompanied by QRT personnel).

Israel has already deployed versions of this system, including the use of unmanned fortified towers containing remotely controlled machine-guns and more powerful vidcams. The Israeli experience is that these systems have to be fine-tuned (using the software and some repositioning of sensors) to fit local conditions and then constantly monitored to adapt to new enemy techniques for trying to get past the existing sensors. India has long been using Israeli security technology and border security advice along its more dangerous borders, like those in Kashmir and this approach has detected. The Israeli equipment and experience helped stop a lot more illegal border crossings, usually of armed Islamic terrorists from Pakistan. The newly elected Indian president is also a believer in tech and the usefulness of Israeli experience and encouraged the testing of the latest Israeli gear and tactics along India’s most volatile border.

For a long time, it was conventional wisdom that you could not prevent irregulars (terrorists, guerillas, bandits, smugglers), from getting across a long frontier. Apparently the conventional wisdom is wrong. Both Israel and India have been able to build security fences that have succeeded in keeping terrorists out. The best example of this approach is the 760 kilometer long Israeli security fence with the West Bank. Most of it was built between 2002 and 2009 and in that time terror attacks inside Israel declined over 90 percent and related deaths plunged over 98 percent. The Israelis accepted that such a barrier was never really finished and have continued to update. The 60 kilometer Gaza security fence is largely through open terrain and more similar to what India needed along its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. The border fence has been equally effective in keeping Islamic terrorists out. The Israelis pointed out that a lot of the same hardware and software used for the West Bank barrier were used in Gaza but with as many changed and adaptations as needed. Two five kilometer test areas in Kashmir are where the needed adjustments are being noted and different solutions implemented.

Early on India noted the effectiveness of Israeli tech in border security and in 2004 began using the Israeli equipment and tactics in Kashmir. This led to the construction of a 580 kilometer electrified fence along the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir. India also bought more radars, and special jamming equipment (to shut down radios used by Islamic radicals trying to cross the border) for use in Kashmir and along the LOC. The use of ground radars, thermal imaging and other electronic gear along the LOC, greatly reduced illegal movements into Indian controlled Kashmir.

The key to these systems was new video and sensor analysis software, which the Israelis have also pioneered. Initially the software was primarily for replacing humans who were needed to constantly monitor the video surveillance from vidcams mounted on towers or UAVs along the border. Humans quickly got bored watching the video, especially when nothing much of interest showed up. With the development of higher resolution vidcams and more powerful (and cheaper) computers it became possible to augment humans watching the video with software that monitored the real time video full time and alerted humans only when something suspicious showed up. It required humans to confirm the presence of something dangerous and activating remotely controlled weapons, sending out QRTs or calling for armed aircraft (usually UAVs).

India has borders more than ten times longer than Israel and cannot afford to intensively use troop patrols to cover it all to detect smugglers, illegal migrants and various criminals moving through. The Israelis have apparently proposed a security fence that comes in many different levels of complexity (and cost) and advised India buy as much as they need for every part of the border and be ready to modify equipment and tactics to deal with what the bad buys (smugglers and Islamic terrorists) come up with to try and beat the system. A lot of Moslem nations are adopting the Israeli approach, without the benefit of getting the latest tech and the benefit of Israeli experience. That’s because of more than half a century of banning any Israeli goods in most Moslem (especially Arab) countries. That is changing and if the Indian project is a big success Moslem nations will be able to go direct to the source for their border security tech needs.




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