Cow smuggling has to stop; BSF needs to be more alert: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday asked BSF to be more alert and vigilant to prevent cow smuggling along the Indo-Bangla border and asserted that the criminal activity “has to stop.”

The minister also said he has asked the Union Home Secretary to create a national “think tank” which will work to ensure India’s security in all its spheres.

He added that a plan has been chalked out to ensure that the country’s land borders are “absolutely safe” and “fool-proof”, while the government is deploying smart technological solutions like laser walls and surveillance gadgets to keep security at the frontiers ‘chust durust’ (fit and fine) at all the times.

In his keynote speech on the topic ‘Border Management in Changing Scenario’, organised by the BSF here, Singh said forces will have to be alert and alive to changing security challenges to ensure India’s economic security and prosperity as some elements have cast their evil eye and perpetrated ‘naapak’ (unholy) activities against the country, including some neighbours.

There are “some deficiencies” in border management, the Home Minister said, adding “we are trying to make the scenario more alert and secure”.

“Cow smuggling has been taking place for many years now… I congratulate BSF jawans for bringing down the numbers from 23 lakh to 3-3.5 lakh now. I will like to exhort the jawans and officers of the BSF that in order to stop cow smuggling, we will have be more alert and vigilant. This has to stop,” Singh said.

He said apart from these measures, it was essential to get the support of state governments on this issue and his ministry has written to them on the subject.

The Home Minister said he was confident about the capabilities of the security forces who guard the frontiers of the country and based on this confidence he can say that no one can “dare” look upon Indian borders.

“The incidents of infiltration have come down by about 50 per cent and a big number of terrorists have been killed. I give the credit for this to the bravery of our security personnel,” he said.

Talking about India’s economy, Singh said his government is “determined” to make it grow up to the level of “double digits”.

He said the growth rate of the Indian economy was about 3-3.5 per cent during independence in 1947 and it was then called the ‘Hindu growth rate’, which moves forward at the slow pace of a tortoise.

In 1998, Singh added, the growth rate went up to about 8.4 per cent and kept steady for sometime.

“We are proud of the respect that India commands across the globe … World ranking agencies have called India the fastest growing economy,” he said.

Getting back on the subject of border security, Singh said despite deploying all technology solutions, troops will always remain the most important component to secure the frontiers.

He asked the security agencies to remain cautious against the nefarious “proxy war” being conducted against them and the country by using information technology tools.

The Home Minister said some time ago a committee was constituted to analyse the ground situation and suggest measures to fortify Indian borders, even as he asked BSF, the largest border guarding force of the country, to ensure that the men on ground are put to training “regularly” and that they do not suffer stress.

“As soon as the committee (headed by former Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta) submits report to us, we will take its cognisance,” he said.

“Also try, as much as you (BSF top brass) can, that troops deployed on the borders do not have to undergo any kind of stress. I don’t need to tell you how to do this,” he told the BSF brass, led by Director General K K Sharma, who attended the event here.

He added that an amount of Rs 635 crore has been earmarked by the government for creating as many as 13 new Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) at various land borders.

The Minister asked BSF men to make the border population feel like they are “family” to them and ensure all help to them.