October 23, 2014

Hi-tech surveillance cameras to help security forces zoom in on China

In the wake of increasing Chinese aggression and the difficulty of physically manning the vast India-China border, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is acquiring high-end surveillance cameras that can see over 20 km deep into Chinese territory. One such camera has been installed at a border outpost (BoP) in Leh and at least 50 more are in the pipeline.

The acquisition is part of a largescale revamp in China border security infrastructure being undertaken by the government following frequent Chinese incursions in the past couple of years, the latest being over fortnight-long faceoffs in Demchok and Chumar areas of Ladakh last month. Government is already in the process of acquiring vehicles and choppers for the force.
Stressing on the need for greater infrastructure, ITBP DG Subhash Goswami said, "China has become more aggressive in the recent past. Its protests against Indian road building exercises have become more vociferous. Perhaps, it is reacting to India aggressively improving infrastructure along the border."

On the installation of cameras, Goswami said, "We are fully ready to face any challenge from China. Our boys are well trained and equipped. However, we would like to have more surveillance equipment. We can't have boots everywhere. We have installed a state-of-the-art surveillance camera at Thakung post (north of Chushul) and it can see 20-22 km ahead. We are asking government for more such equipment."

Sources said the camera is equipped for thermal imaging as well and thus can see at night too. The footage from the camera recorded over a period of 10 days would be analyzed to gauge the pattern of Chinese troop movement or infrastructure buildup. Sources said at least 50 BoPs in Ladakh could be given such cameras.

Sources said there are also long-term plans for laying optical fibres along the border. As and when that happens, cameras could be connected to BoPs and eventually with headquarters in Delhi for real time monitoring of the border. There is already a plan afoot to have wireless area network in all BoPs.
The ITBP DG also said two of the 27 proposed roads on the border had been completed are were functioning well. He said the force had also started electronic procurement of its requirements and this had not only brought transparency but also reduced cost and widened the playing field. "We now have 100% e-procurement. This has brought prices of goods down by 20%," Goswami said.

The DG revealed the information during ITBP's annual press conference. He also denied reports of ITBP coming under Army's operational control. "I have not heard of any such thing," he said.
The DG also raised a red flag on health hazards of working at high altitudes and hinted at the force needing to have reserve battalions. "We have 100% deployment. So rotation (from difficult posting to peace posting) becomes difficult. Given the conditions in which our jawans function, it has an impact on their health. Only recently, 20 jawans died of heart attack," said Goswami - timesofindia

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