Managing India's Land Borders: Lessons from the US Experience

January 2012

India has been grappling with the problem of devising an efficient border management strategy that would prevent the entry of dangerous elements while at the same time allowing the legitimate flow of goods, services and people. Given that it has always been vulnerable to cross-border threats and challenges such as illegal migration, drug and human trafficking, gunrunning, smuggling of commodities and cross-border terrorism, India has taken a largely unilateral approach towards border management whereby security of the borders is accorded primacy over the free movement of people and goods. However, as the Indian economy is growing and fast integrating itself with the economies of the region, there is a consequent increase in trade and cross-border flow of people. It has to jettison its unilateral approach towards border management and adopt a cooperative approach along the lines of the ‘smart border’ approach of the United States.