Wednesday, 8 April 2015

India to double its forces on border with China​

The new BJP government is keen to send out a strong signal to Beijing regarding border disputes by nearly doubling the deployment of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel on the India-China frontier. 

Top government sources said the ITBP will very soon have more boots on the ground to effectively guard the border that has witnessed several Chinese incursions in the past few years.

The previous UPA government was often criticised for being "soft" on the issue of Chinese incursions.


Indian security personnel stand guard as Chinese traders wait to enter Indian territory. (Photo for representation)​

The Home Ministry has approved the construction of 54 new border outposts along the disputed frontier with China.

A proposal in this regard was made by the ITBP before the polls, but the previous government did not go ahead on it.

With the new outposts, the number of troops on the ground will also increase.

Currently, there are close to 40 outposts and nearly 15,000 troops guard the sensitive zones. Sources said the number could now go up to 30,000.

"There were critical gaps regarding security on the China border that need to be filled up," said a senior Home Ministry official.

"The increase in deployment should not be construed as an aggressive approach on our part. We are only securing out territory," a top government official said.

After getting approval for the new border outposts, ITBP is drawing up a detailed report on troop deployment in critical zones.


The road map for intensifying the vigil in border areas will soon be submitted to the Home Ministry, after which additional forces will be deployed.

Soon after taking charge, Minster of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had stressed upon the need for enhancing forces, improving infrastructure and modernising the ITBP to secure the border with China.

The government has already shown urgency in expediting projects along the border that were stuck as the Environment Ministry wasn't clearing them.

Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar said last week that the government is working to fast-track clearance of infrastructure projects in areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

With no roads in high-altitude border areas, patrolling is difficult and the frontier has become vulnerable to Chinese incursions.

The roads project began in 2004 but only about 40 per cent of the work could be completed, sources said.

The Environment Ministry was reluctant to give clearances for roads and the Home Ministry was unable to get contractors, thus stalling the project.

"As of now, the first phase of construction is not over. The project was divided into three to four phases," said an officer in the security establishment.

But now things are likely to change as the government is making its intentions clear about strengthening vigil at the frontier.

There is an urgent need to upgrade the ITBP, which has to match the modern weaponry of the Chinese forces.

As part of a mega police-modernisation plan, ITBP was sanctioned Rs 265 crore for the period between 2012 and 2017. Alarmingly, the force has not got a single penny under this plan.

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