The Geography of Neighborhood Studies

India’s geostrategic location in South Asia, its relatively sound economic position in comparison to its neighbors, and its liberal democratic credentials, have given it a political edge in the region. India shares 15,106.7 km of its boundary with seven nations: Pakistan, China, Nepal. Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. These land borders run through different terrains. Managing a diverse land border is a complex task with a boundary of 7,516.6 km, which includes 5,422.6 km of coastline in the mainland and 2,094 km of coastline bordering islands. The coastline touches nine states and two union territories. The traditional approach to border management (i.e., focusing only on border security), has become inadequate. India needs to not only ensure seamlessness in the legitimate movement of people and goods across its borders but also undertake with the adoption of new technologies for border control and surveillance and the development of integrated systems for entering, exchange and storage of data, will facilitate the movement of people and products without endangering security. An Indian perspective explores how the government of India can respond to border management challenges curbing crime occurrence and adopt a proactive and resilient approach towards smart border management that should have four key elements: innovation and technology infrastructure, collaborative border management, capacity building, and agile organization.

Infiltration, Refugee Movements, and Cross-Border Terrorism

Displacement is a fact of life for many people across the world and the refugee problem is a tragic phenomenon, a by-product, of modern times. It is a product, not only of world war(s), modern dictatorial regimes, and ethnic strife, but also of the general socioeconomic inequalities that rule the w'orld. The 20th century has been described as the “century of the uprooted” as a result of the tremendous increase in the number of refugees, homeless, and displaced people around the world, particularly in the Third-World nations. These people are driven by economic, environmental, political, and other push-and-pull factors, and presence of these people also poses serious threat to the social, economic, and political institutions in the host country. Threats to social security come in the form of drug addiction, drug trafficking, and crimes against w'omen. In the recent past, a new dimension has emerged in terrorism (i.e., transnational Terrorism). It involves incidents where the perpetrators and victims are from two or more countries. Infiltration from across the border has also become a significant threat to all the nations, and every responsible state is trying to secure their tertiary from these threats. There have been numerous instances in the past when criminal organizations, particularly terrorists, use porous borders and wreak havoc on the lives of innocent people in destination countries.

Infiltration

Cross-border infiltration has become a significant threat to all the nations, and every responsible state is trying to secure their tertiary from these threats coming from across the border. In the period after the end of the Cold War, the impact of transnational threats to the national security of most of the South Asian nations has greatly increased. There have been numerous instances in the past when criminal organizations, particularly terrorists, use porous borders and wreak havoc on the lives of innocent people in destination countries. Take the example of Islamist militant groups which remains Pakistan’s most successful strategic weapon against India’s regional hegemony. Having lost every war against its much larger and conventionally superior neighbor. Pakistan has been fighting a long-running proxy war against India, particularly in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, which have been affected by terrorist violence that is sponsored and supported from across the border. To sneak into Indian territory, the number of infiltration attempts made by Pakistan-based terrorist groups increased from 222 in 2014. to 284 in 2018 (MHA, 2018). Net estimated infiltration from Pakistan to India was 65 during 2014, which has substantially increased to 128 in 2018, the highest in the last 5 years. Infiltration has also caused devastating effects in northeastern states where local population felt “threatened by an increasing sense of being marginalized in their home land by a culturally and ethnically different group”. This has become serious issue since the total population is increasing linearly year by year.

It would be difficult and unfair to exclude either Afghanistan or Myanmar from consideration in this perspective. Instability in these countries spills over into the larger south Asian region and leads to the exacerbation of threats posed by drugs, the smuggling of weapons, and terrorism. Likewise, it is difficult to exclude the effect of the spillover of the problems of Afghanistan and Myanmar into Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, which adds a significant dimension to the national security concerns of these countries. Pakistan claimed that the militant network responsible for most attacks in its territory has their origin from across the border which includes Afghan, Chechen, Arab, Uzbek, and Tajik fighters who find easy access to Pakistan through the porous Afghan-Pakistan border. Most unlawful migrants to Malaysia are from nearby Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, particularly on Indonesia-Malaysia border via the maritime boundary of Strait of Malacca and land border on the island of Borneo. The presence of refugees also poses serious threats to the social, economic, and political institutions in the host country. Threats to social security come in the form of drug addiction, drug trafficking, increasing law and order problems, trafficking in weapons and women, etc.

 
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