Inhabited by numerous tribes and sub-tribes with fierce clan loyalties, the north-east of India has been plagued by identity-inspired insurgencies since independence. The first of these insurgencies was that of the Naga National Council (NNC) in the mid-1950s. Subsequent decades saw the outbreak of other, similar, insurgencies among the Meiteis, Mizos, Assamese and Boroks.
Raising a Central Marine Police Force and wasting resources on their training and equipment is neither necessary nor advisable given that the country already has a central organisation to protect the coast – the Indian Coast Guard.
Given that the onus for settling the border disputes with Nepal and Bangladesh is on India, the Indian government has to demonstrate political wisdom in evolving political framework that would satisfy the national interests of both India and Nepal as well as win over the domestic opposition to the LBA.
Given that marine police has been exclusively created for coastal security, it is imperative that the force is adequately strengthened and for this to happen, it is incumbent upon the respective state governments to recognize the severity of sea-borne threats.
Unless fundamental factors such as vested political interests, economic compulsions and non-cooperation from Bangladesh are addressed effectively, illegal migration will continue to take place, fence or no fence.
Border trade is trade in local products of limited value by the people residing within a few kilometres on either side of the international border. Although the contribution of border trade in India's economy is negligible, it has substantial impact on its relations with its neighbours as well as on the people living on the border.
The arrests of the key Indian Mujahideen operatives has come as a major breakthrough in the fight against terrorism; however, there are a few causes of concern - such as lack of inter-agency coordination, growing radicalization in the society and the potential resurgence of the IM - that the government needs to urgently address.
A discordant political relationship, three and a half wars and Pakistan’s material support for secessionist militants in the border states of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir compelled India to harden its international border with Pakistan. An inward-looking economy and the absence of an imperative for regional economic integration also resulted in restricted movement of people and goods across the border. However, in the past decade or so, an emergent Indian economy coupled with both countries’ desire to engage themselves constructively have paved the way for softening the border.
Five years since the Mumbai terror attacks, the coastal mechanism remains weak. It is time to seriously consider the Indian coast guard as the single authority responsible for coastal security and accordingly amend the charter of the ICG.