With increasing cases of infiltration on the western border and government looking for technological solutions to shore up defences, particularly on the Punjab and J&K border, the BSF is roping in IIT Bombay for research and development support on border defences and to screen new technologies for their effectiveness on borders.
The idea has received a go-ahead from the Ministry of Home Affairs and will be formalised on July 8 through a MoU between the BSF and the National Conference On Emerging Information Technology And Its Solutions under IIT Bombay.
The MoU will be signed by BSF DG K K Sharma and Dr Devang V Khakhar, Director, IIT Bombay. Joint secretaries of the border management and police modernisation divisions of the MHA are also likely to be present.
According to sources, there is a massive push by the government to plug riverine gaps on the western border often used by terrorists such as those who attacked the Pathankot airbase. From laser walls to earth sensors to underwater detectors, the government is testing all forms of technology to beef up the border defence, they said.
“We are looking at modern hi-tech gadgets to plug gaps in our border defence and also to strengthen the existing infrastructure. It is part of the BSF’s integrated border management programme where multiple layers of security, both human and technical, will complement each other,” a senior BSF officer said.
He, however, added that the force did not have the expertise to optimally test new technologies and their effectiveness in countering peculiar problems on both eastern and western borders, which are of a different nature.
“This is where experts from the IIT would be helpful. At the moment, we have many vendors selling us different technologies. But many of these technologies will have to be customised according to our needs and potential threats. For that, we need a high-quality research and development set-up. IIT will provide that,” the officer said.
The IIT’s support is also going to be utilised for improving the capacity, efficiency and health of the force personnel, a source said.