chapter  1
India’s Fragile Frontiers through the Prism of History
Pages 35

India has a rich past, a fl ourishing civilization and thousands of years of growth behind its present sophistication. Travellers and raconteurs never tired of narrating India’s fables. However, even today, the country is as fragile as it was ages ago in one aspect — demarcation and stabilization of its national frontier. Through its journey up to the 21st century, the frontiers of India have stretched and shrunk on innumerable occasions. The earliest evidence of a boundary for the nation is found in the Vedic texts.1 As per the ancient text Shalivahana, the grandson of King Vikramaditya, after having defeated foreigners trying to invade the country for the second time and expelling them beyond the Indus, issued a royal decree to the effect that henceforth the Indus should constitute the line of demarcation between India and other nations. The decree read:

The boundary later stretched up to the Hindukush mountains and the Khyber and Bolan passes became the tunnel towards the Western world.3 Since time immemorial, demarcation of the north-western boundary for India has been essential and signifi cant. The northern and north-eastern part, endowed with the geographical gift of the Himalayas, has been acting as a frontier line for the country. The eastern, south-western and southern boundaries have always been the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean respectively.4