Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the country had an independent defence policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Delivering the Rustamji Memorial Lecture at the 18th Investiture Ceremony of the Border Security Force (BSF), he said that before Mr. Modi became the Prime Minister, India did not have an independent defence policy. It was influenced by, or overlapped with, the foreign policy.
Mr. Modi provided an independent defence policy and this was a major achievement. India intended to live in harmony with others, but if anyone challenged its sovereignty and threatened its borders, the country would respond in the same language. The government had implemented this policy on the ground, he stated.
Border safety was at the core of the national security policy, Mr. Shah pointed out and listed infiltration, drugs/weapons trafficking and drones as challenges before the BSF. Agencies such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) were working on developing an anti-drone mechanism.
Drones were used to trigger explosions inside the Air Force Station in Jammu last month.
Mr. Shah said there was a need to develop a long-term strategy for countering the possible use of artificial intelligence and robotic technology from across the border. As suggested by the Prime Minister during the last year’s DGP conference, hackathons should be organised by para-military forces to find indigenous solutions to such challenges with the help of technical experts.
Earlier this month, the BSF held one such event in coordination with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The Ministry of Home Affairs was planning to making it a regular practice, he noted.
Before 2022, all the gaps in border fencing would be plugged. A pilot project of the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System had been implemented for effective surveillance along the border. A new model was also being developed with certain modifications.
Several measures were being taken to prevent the exodus of people from bordering villages. It was vital for border security. The para-military forces had been made nodal organisations for the implementation of government projects in those villages. Infrastructure development works were being undertaken to provide basic services to the residents. They should be made aware of their rights, he said.
Compared to about 3,600-km-long road stretches constructed along the border from 2008 to 2014, the Modi government had got 4,764-km-long roads from 2014 to 2020.
Funds to the tune of ₹44,000 crore were allocated for road construction, as against ₹23,000 crore during the previous regime. The length of bridges constructed had now doubled. In place of just one tunnel, six had been constructed. The pace of border road resurfacing and associated works along the Indo-Chinese border had also doubled, he added.