Guwahati, Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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‘Total fencing of NE borders not possible’
Raju Das
 SHILLONG, Nov 19 – National Security Advisory Board chairman Naresh Chandra said here today that the North East India’s international borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh cannot be physically sealed totally, but definitely can be “managed intelligently.”Emerging after a meeting with top security officials from the region and Board members, Chandra said: “Physical sealing of the border cannot be achieved totally, but the borders can be managed intelligently,” Chandra told reporters.

North East shares over 1,624 km of international border with Myanmar and 3,910 km with Bangladesh. Work is on to fence this entire stretch, but still the unfenced areas remain vulnerable to infiltration by militants, and other anti-national elements.

The Union Home Ministry is trying to rely on technology together with its fencing activities largely due to the hostile terrain.

Efficient border management remains a crucial factor for the country in its effort to improve the overall security scenario in the region. The borders need to be managed to control infiltration of militants, illegal migrants and arms into the country, Chandra said.

Moreover, members of the Advisory Board felt the need for more interfaces between people of India and the neighbouring countries.

The Board chairman said that with Myanmar now being viewed as a “friendly” regime and so too Bangladesh, such people to people contacts would help ease tensions. He, however, cautioned that no move should be undertaken, which potentially undermines the overall security of the country and region in particular.

On militancy in the region, Chandra stressed, public order has to be maintained at all cost and the Government cannot allow a “few group of people” to disturb peace and tranquility.

Members and officials were of the view that connectivity in terms of road, railways and airways would help mitigate the militancy problem to some extent, he said.

“More focus on education to make people employable, emphasis on infrastructure development and improving the quality of developmental programmes in the region would help in addressing the insurgency problem,” Chandra said.

Regarding China, the issues that were raised were more of concerns relating to water sharing, he said, adding, the present picture that the Board gathered is hazy and further clarity is required on the matter.

“We are not so sure about China and so all such developmental matters of water sharing and others have to be taken up diplomatically,” Chandra said.

He stated that the board is in the process of “exchanging ideas” through these meetings with officials and NGOs of the region and the ideas would be further relayed to the relevant Ministries to take appropriate action.

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