A massive communication channel will be set up along the India-China frontier with the installation of more than 100 mobile phone towers. The network will benefit the security forces and civilians, who currently have to use expensive satellite phones. The mobile phone towers will ensure that officers and jawans can freely speak to their families, without queuing up to use a satellite phone.
As mobile phone communication will also allow immediate information relay between security forces and their informers, adequate measures will have to be taken to prevent monitoring. The project to lay optical fibre cable (OFC) in Ladakh for installing landline phones for use by the ITBP is also being considered. The Indian Army has laid OFC at its posts. "The ITBP will tie up with the Army to connect each other's posts and on other modalities for the project," sources said. At present, the ITBP uses Digital Satellite Phone Terminals (DSPT). These are of two types-village public telephone (VPT) and the ones used by the ITBP at 95 per cent of its border outposts.
The ITBP has requested the Ministry of Home Affairs for 50 more DSPTs. VPTs are set up for use by villagers, while the ITBP is the phone's custodians. The call rate is Rs 1 per minute. The Ministry of Home Affairs has approved an ITBP proposal to set up mobile phone towers along the India-China frontier. The BSNL will set up 123 towers along the frontier-Ladakh (28), Himachal Pradesh (eight), Uttarakhand (39), Sikkim (eight) and Arunachal Pradesh (40). These towers will be set up in a manner that their signal doesn't reach the other side of the border.