The Border Security Force (BSF) of India announced on Thursday that it installed a dozen “laser walls” on the border with its geopolitical rival Pakistan. The action was undertaken to seal the porous riverine and treacherous terrain from infiltrators and terrorists seeking to cross over through the frontier areas.
Eight are fully operational in sensitive areas of the border, and a further four laser walls are expected to be built within the next few days. The international border between India and Pakistan remains one of the most militarized in the world, and one of the hottest nuclear flashpoints. Both countries possess atomic bombs, and have half of their 1.6 million-strong armies, respectively, deployed along the border. According to NBC News, Indian authorities had previously “experimented with barbed wire, surveillance cameras and even cowbells and camels.”
Laser walls are infrared and laser beam intrusion detection systems aimed at preventing cross-border intrusion, particularly where uneven terrain prevents manned patrols from doing their jobs effectively. The walls were operationalized in the Punjab area of the India-Pakistan border. BSF announced two years ago it plans to install a total of 45 walls in the regions of Punjab and Jammu, as NBC News reported.
“Earlier this year, peace talks were suspended when India accused Pakistan of allowing militants to cross over and attack an Indian air force base in Pathankot on Jan. 2. According to the PTI report, around 45 laser walls will be installed in Punjab state. Lasers beamed over rivers and hills will set off an alarm and alert the Indian Border Security Force if someone attempts to pass by, it added. Pakistan has not taken India’s buildups on the border lightly in the past. In 2014, India and Pakistan exchanged artillery and sniper fire for months, leading to dozens of casualties on both sides.”
The decision to further strengthen the border was taken by India in response to terrorists crossing the porous 1,800 mile(2,900 km) border from Pakistan, particularly after the Pathankot terror attack, where the attackers are believed to have crossed through Bamiyal border area.
“The laser walls have started working and their functioning is being monitored. Preliminary results in detecting illegal movements are encouraging,” a BSF official said to American Bazaar.
An advanced satellite-based signal command system equipped with night and fog visibility tools will also keep a close watch on the borders. Apart from the new laser walls, the Indian government is planning several new security projects in the same vein, American Bazaar reports.
“There are also reports that the Home Ministry has approved four similar kind of pilot project that will be executed in a stretch of 30-40 km along the international border in Jammu, Gujarat and along the Indo-Bangla border. Pathankot attack was an eye opener for the Border Security Force as more than a 1,000 additional men have been deployed in the Punjab sector to increase ambush operations and patrolling in the area.”
The BSF is implementing many changes and upgrades in order to combat terrorism. Sensors will blip and alert border guards of unauthorized movement along the frontier, and a similar laser-guided system is being tested to detect hidden tunnels in border areas.
India and Pakistan have a long-standing rivalry over the disputed Kashmir region, which has erupted into violence several times. As recently as 2014, the two countries traded artillery and sniper fire during border skirmishes that lasted for months and resulted in dozens of casualties for both sides.
As a result of the ongoing peace efforts, India and Pakistan both agreed to put a complete ban on the firing of mortar shells along regions of the border in order to protect the lives and homes of civilians.
[Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]