Post-1962, thinning population in border villages hits intel gathering


NAINITAL: As tensions between India and China flare up and Nepal introduces a new map claiming Indian territories, the declining population in border villages of Uttarakhand — within 5 km aerial distance from the international border — has become a security concern. Security experts said that it is in the country’s interests that the population in these border villages does not go down since they are integral to the security forces for information about incursions and early alerts.

Speaking with TOI, locals as well as historians said that the migration from these border villages started after the 1962 war as the trade dating back to the 6th century was completely stopped and the dependence on agriculture became unsustainable.

The situation has become so dire that in most of the villages barely a few young men are left. “Our village had around 300-400 people but now just around 40 are left. Most young people have migrated to cities such as Dehradun and Delhi for a better life,” said Ashish Rana, former gram pradhan of Niti village in the Chamoli district.

Security experts emphasise that the trend of declining population in the border villages should be reversed. “These villagers as well as nomads in the upper reaches are invaluable assets for the security forces with respect to surveillance of unmanned areas and early warning, therefore it is necessary that their migration is stopped,” said Lieutenant General (retired) Syed Ata Hasnain.





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