In another assertive step towards a routinely transgressing China on the border, the government has decided to double the number of troops guarding the Sino-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh. In two more years, the strength of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on Sino-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh will be increased by close to 10,000 troops.
Home ministry is likely to sanction one more frontier (comprising of eight battalions with around 10,000 personnel) of ITBP to guard the border in Arunachal against transgressions by Chinese troops. At present there is only one frontier guarding the border in the state.
In addition to this, the home ministry has also agreed in principle to sanction 10,000 more troops to the force to allow them rest and recuperation, effectively increasing the strength of the force by around 20,000. This decision has been taken as ITBP is a 100% deployment force with no soft postings. It has led to higher stress levels among jawans and eventual attrition.
Home ministry sources said last week ITBP DG Krishna Chaudhary had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh to push for the twin sanctions. "The home minister was very receptive to the demands of the force and said he was expediting the sanction for 10,000 more personnel to guard Arunachal border. The sanction will be granted soon. On the issue of 10,000 more troops for rest and recuperation, the home minister has agreed in principle, but it may take some time," said an official privy to the discussions.
The eight new battalions sanctioned for Arunachal Pradesh will guard 54 new border outposts to be constructed on the border, said sources. "It will take two years to raise and train the eight battalions. Meanwhile, the force will begin putting up the infrastructure to sustain them," said the official.
At present, there are about 40 BoPs on the 1,126 km Arunachal border making patrolling and surveillance in the region extremely difficult. While on Indo-Pak border, there are BoPs every three-four km, on the Arunachal border the distance can stretch up to 50-100 km between two BoPs in certain sectors.
The force, meanwhile, is happy that Singh has shown willingness for 10,000 troops for rest and recuperation. "We already work in inhospitable condition at heights of over 15,000 feet. Battalions earlier kept for rest and recuperation have now been deployed in Naxal areas. This leads to an ITBP jawan never having a soft posting," said an ITBP officer.timesofindia