Hinting that border issues, including with China, are unlikely to be settled in the near future, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said on Friday that he does not think the borders are going to be as secure as India needs for fast economic growth.

Doval obliquely criticised the previous regime for not securing borders, which has hampered the country’s faster progress.

Delivering the Rustamji Memorial Lecture organised by the Border Security Force (BSF) on its 21st investiture ceremony, the NSA said: “In the foreseeable future, I don’t think our borders are going to be as secure as we will require for our fast economic growth. So, the responsibility on border guarding forces has become very, very heavy. They have got to remain on alert 24x7 in perpetuity. They have got to see that our national interests and country are protected.”

Jameen par jo kabja hai wo apna hai, baki to sab adalat aur kachehri ka kaam hai, usse farak nahi padta (the land which is in our possession is ours, the rest is the matter of courts, and that is immaterial),” Doval told the gathering at Vigyan Bhavan.

Doval stressed that the government has paid very high attention to border security during the last one decade, during which “our comprehensive national power has grown immensely.”

He stated the country is changing very fast and, in the next 10 years, “we will be a USD 10 trillion economy and the third largest economy,” which, he said, was a “major achievement.”

Doval said India will have one of the largest workforces globally. It will also be a hub of high-technology, artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing, and various other areas of defence and security manufacturing.

As an importer of arms, India exported $2.5 billion worth of arms until March 31 because of the government’s policy of self-reliance and Atmanirbhar Bharat, the NSA said.

In this changing India, prosperity guarantees security to some extent and increases vulnerability in much larger areas, he observed.

At the investiture ceremony, DG BSF Nitin Agrawal paid rich tributes to his men for making supreme sacrifices to safeguard the sovereignty of the motherland. The DG BSF referred specifically to the various operational achievements, with a special mention of recent successful anti-Maoist operation, in which his troops, along with DRG of Chhattisgarh police eliminated 29 hard core ultras in Kanker area as well as recovered large quantities of arms and ammunitions.