By Our Special Correspondent
New Delhi. 01 December, 2015. India’s Border Security Force (BSF) for the first time in fifty years will see an Assistant Commandant (Direct Entry) Mahila Officer training from the month of February 2016 at BSF Academy Tekanpur, Gwalior (MP). Lady officers have been recruited and will be undergoing basic training along with AC(DE) training officers at the BSF academy in 2016-17 for 53 weeks. With this women in the BSF will be represented in supervisory roles in Company and Battalions to ensure proper command and control over women and men combatants.
With induction of approx 1000 women personnel annually, BSF is moving in right direction to achieve the target of 5% strength of women force in CAPFs as directed by the Govt. of India. While handling some specific duties, they have successfully performed all operational tasks that were till now the domain of male personnel including seizure of smuggled goods and apprehension and neutralization of intruders.
For a both peace and war time force, the BSF is full of optimism as it completes its fiftieth year of existence on 1st December 2015. The force is celebrating its ‘Golden Jubilee’ to commemorate this historic milestone. The country’s history will record the contribution of the first wall of defence’s i.e. BSFs valour, sacrifices and utmost dedication to the motherland in golden words.
A more than 2.50 Lakh strong force, BSF is the largest Border Guarding Force in the world with 186 Battalions (including 3 Disaster Management Battalions). These units are aptly supported by training institutions, an elaborated medical set up, an Artillery Regiment, Air and Water Wings, Camel contingent & Dog Squads, to come true to the current responsibility of safeguarding International Border with Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Border Security Force is a unique Force with both” Peace time” and “War time” roles and has proven its mettle in most difficult tasks assigned to it by the Government in times of Peace, War and Disturbed Peace (NWNP) at Borders and Hinterland.
This year will also see a change in patrolling equipment. Border Security Force has deployed “sand scooters”, that run smoothly on sand dunes, to step up vigil in the Jaisalmer and Barmer sector along the International Border. Presently BSF is using scooters Polaris range of vehicles – Ranger crew 800 (6 seated) and Model RZR 4 – 900 (4 seated).
The force has procured four new fast Attack Crafts(FAC) to guard marshy creeks at Kutch-Pakistan border. The American made FAC can cover over a distance of one kilometre in 15 to 20 seconds with speed ranging between 30 to 35 nautical miles. The crafts are response vessels that can respond to any suspicious activity observed or on receipt of input specially in anti-terrorist operations.
The FAC are bullet proof and are fitted with arms at the hull. They are equipped with latest stealth techno logy that enhances operations at the water by minimizing reflections of radar, infrared or visible lights that alarm the enemies. The crafts have navigation and communication, night vision mechanism and techno logy to coordinate with the border outposts on ground and floating border outposts.
BSF has also carved out an elevated niche among the security establishments of the nation in Internal Security, Counter Insurgency and Anti Naxal Operations through its dedication and unflinching professionalism. The professional approach and capability of meticulous execution of assigned tasks bestows the Force with the status of the most dependable warriors.
The force has been regularly deployed in various United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in addition to its primary role of Border guarding. Some of such missions are UN Mission in Namibia-1989, Cambodia-1992, Mozambique-1994, Angola-1995, Bosnia & Herzegovina -1996, 1997, 1998, 1999. Presently, BSF contingents are also deployed in Colombo (Sri Lanka), Congo and Haiti. Apart from these missions, BSF personnel are also deployed in many other UN missions as UN police observers.
With an aim to cater for the growing needs of the troops deployed in various parts of the country, Air Wing inducted new aircrafts to its fleet thereby becoming one of the prized assets of MHA. Present Air Wing Fleet consists of Embraer-135 J, Avro (HS-748) and Super King B-200 aircraft in fixed wing and ALH (Dhruv), Cheetah and Mi-17 1V in Rotary Wing.
With ever increasing role of air support, Air Wing is inducting new aircraft in its fleet with Mi-17 V5 (acquisition already in process) and proposal for Embraer Legacy 145 BJ has been put forwarded. 8 MI-17 V5 Aircrafts are being inducted which would be a force multiplier in Anti Naxal Operations and further enhance sustainability of air maintained Border Out Posts on borders.
Initially in 1967 water Wing was raised with 34 small Boats and 61 Crew deployed in West Bengal only. As on date it is having a sizably large flotilla of 510 Watercrafts/Boats comprising from small naka boats (3 men capacity) to large vessels called Floating BOP (38 persons capacity), Medium Crafts, Mechanized Boat, Speed Boat (Twin and Single Engine) etc for domination of riverine border.
BSF has put in place its “winter strategy”, which includes deployment of devices that ensure visibility in fog, to prevent infiltration as it apprehends that terrorists may turn to International Border (IB) to sneak into India as the LoC would be inaccessible due to snow.