New Delhi, October 27, 2015. “We should not become warmongers. We are there on the border to guard, not to fight. There were no problems on the either side of the fence. Whatever differences arise, they are due to difference of perception, ” stated Krishna Chaudhary, DG The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), on the eve of its 54th Raising Day on 28th October, 2015. And if the chief of the force guarding the Sino-Indo borders says so , should we presume all is well? And this is when the ITBP will soon have 40 more border posts and 12 staging camps in eastern sector of border, primarily Arunachal Pradesh.
The ITBP is guarding the 3488 Km long Indo-Tibetan border on great Himalayan Ranges from Karakoram pass to Jechap La. It is also engaged in internal security duties like anti naxal operations, security of vital installations/VVIPs, disaster management, rescue and relief operations. In addition ITBP has an excellent track record in UN peace keeping operation. Presently, ITBP contingent (INDFPU-1) deployed in Bunia (Democratic Republic of Congo) has been providing assistance to UN in maintaining peace and tranquility in the country. ITBP has also been providing security cover to the Indian Embassy at Kabul and Indian consulates Jalalabad, Kandahar, Mazar-e- Sharif and Herat in Afghanistan.
But do the ITBP soldiers who lives in tough conditions, have complete comfort and safety at high altitudes? No he has a long wish list which he hopes will see the light of the day some time in the near future. Down feather jackets , thermals , light weight sleeping bags, snow boots, snow goggles, gloves , socks and woolen caps to name a few, which will give them physical comfort.
ITBP is playing an important role in disaster management. ITBP has gained an expertise in mountain operations by virtue of its deployment in mountainous terrain and is now considered to be specialists in carrying out search and relief operations in the Himalayas. ITBP has been nominated as the first responder for Disasters in Himalayas. The Force has conducted 07 rescue and relief operations during this year in the states of J&K, HP and Uttarakhand. ITBP has rescued 2033 pilgrims in Kedarnath and Hemkund Sahib route and evacuated them at safe places this year.
Accessories like Avalanche detector and locator, helicopters right up to last formations, air ambulances, micro UAVs, light protective head gears/ helmets, Light weight bullet proof jackets, extremely light weight foldable camouflage tents to protect moving troops from rain and other extreme climatic conditions, are absolute need of the hour.
Satellite for digital mapping of the terrain , long range telescope with recorder facilities , ground control systems to monitor and process information coming from the different stations, aerial surveillance devices like UAV , binoculars which can be used in low visibility conditions and some variant that can even be used in the night times, are also required.
Weapons like Beretta 9mm Carbine, Arsenal Assault Rifle: 7.62mm (with attached 40mm under barrel grenade launcher), pistols and long Range Sniper rifles to be used in ambush . Complementing it would be state –of-the-art communication equipment like satellite phones, wireless interceptors and GPS with long duration battery, which should also be apart of the inventory.
Chaudhary informed that the force has also procured 4,830 night vision devices worth Rs 81 crore for its operations on the border and will also have solar power run centrally heated posts which will be operational by next year.
The force also has a major role in combating naxalite movement in the red belt. In addition to the, five battalions in Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh, ITBP plans to deploy three more battalions in the Naxalite belt by next year.
And the announcement which matched footsteps with the other forces was that ITBP is now going to recruit women officers in supervisory officers rank – assistant commandments as well – for leading the battalions. Chaudhary said that the ITBP plans to have one-third of the border force as women officers and 500 newly recruited women officers are already under training .