[Answered] Examine the economic and strategic significance of border area development for India. What are various challenges related to border area management and development?

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Significance of border infrastructure. Various challenges related to border area management and development.
Conclusion. Way forward.

India is bordering 17 states having the international borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. All of this border comprised of unique topography, culture and varied socio-economic challenges. Considering unity of the nation and neighbourhood first policy of India, it is imperative to develop modern and competitive border road infrastructure.

Significance of border infrastructure:

  1. One of the most important advantages is development of legal and amicable trade relations with neighbouring countries. Examples of it are trade through Attari-Wagha border and Border Haats with Bangladesh and many more with Nepal, Bhutan, etc.
  2. Proper border road infra will reduce trafficking and smuggling, which is currently a big cause concern for India and neighbouring countries.
  3. Another major economic benefit is inclusive growth and development. Border road infrastructure, especially in harsh terrains such as northeast and Jammu & Kashmir provides avenue for self-employment and boost to traditional small scale Industries.
  4. Furthermore, tourism in Himalayas has not reached to its full potential due to improper road infrastructure. To tap full potential of natural tourism avenues we must further improve our border road infra.
  5. One of the major advantages is that through border road infra India will be successful in pushing for her ambitious neighbourhood first and act east policies. It will act as soft power in terms of creating people to people contacts. Best example of this is the most recent project of Kartarpur Corridor.
  6. Border road infra helps in maintaining peace and stability by controlling the security concerns related to inter-region and intra-region issues.
  7. The task of national integration which started with independence of India and still going on will be incomplete without border road infra. Connectivity and inclusivity are the important tools for national integration of far-flung areas such as Northeastern states and Ladakh, etc.
  8. Another important advantage of border roads is in proper and swift disaster management. Difficult and harsh terrains of Indian borders and relatively low development of bordering countries make it inevitable for India to prepared and self-sufficient to handle any kind of disasters.

Various challenges related to border area management and development:

  1. Lack of implementation: Even after about 10 years of implementation of BADP, the border blocks are yet to be opened up and are in utter backwardness due to their isolation and inaccessibility.
  2. Limited sources: The State Government, though handicapped by its limited resources, is committed to accelerate the pace of development and is trying its best for development of the border areas.
  3. Irrational funding: Presently, 10% of BADP 6 fund allotted to the State Government is earmarked for security related schemes to be implemented by the state police and paramilitary forces and the balance 90% fund is equally distributed amongst the bordering blocks.
  4. Other issues: National credit registry politics in Arunachal Pradesh, Sinhalese prosecution in Sri Lanka are some of the other domestic politics. Rough and difficult terrain, tough Weather and Climatic conditions, Seismically active areas in most of the border, Inadequate manpower, funds with Border Road organisation (BRO), Redtapism and bureaucratic delays in projects also act as hindrance.

BRO has been frequently in news due to delays and other lacunae with regard to border road infrastructure Proper and defined autonomy with respect to 3F: Funds, Functions and Functionaries will help to boost the rapid development of border road infra, ultimately leading to economically integrated and strategically amiable South Asia.

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