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Status of India’s Border Trade: Strategic and Economic Significance

Dr. Pushpita Das is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • IDSA Occasional Paper No. 37

    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. At the bilateral level, it is a major confidence building measure as it reduces trust deficits, encourages constructive engagements, stabilises the borders by reducing friction and gives a legal basis to the disputed international borders. At the local level, border trade brings economic prosperity to the people residing in the far-flung border areas and has a positive impact on their emotional well-being. It also aids in better border management as attention gets focussed on better regulation of the traffic of goods and people across the international border. For the border trade to flourish, the government has opened more areas for border trade, improved transportation and communication links and developed industries in the border regions. At the same time, it is also important that the Indian government strikes a balance between security concerns and economic requirements of the local people.

    About the Author

    Dr. Pushpita Das is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Her areas of interest include border studies, border management, coastal security, drug trafficking, migration, and India's Northeast. At IDSA she has been studying India's approach towards the management of its international borders. She has also been co-opted as an expert by the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) on a project on Coastal Security. Dr. Das has written extensively on her areas of research and has delivered lectures at a number of training institutes including the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration in Mussoorrie, the Sadar Patel Institute for Public Administration, Ahmedabad and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad. She holds a Doctorate degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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