25 October NEW DELHI (India)- Following Doklam standoff, Narendra Modi government is raising its guard – both human presence and technologically – at the India-China border.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, speaking at 56th raising day of Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP), said that a proposal to build 50 more border out-posts (BoPs) along the 3,488 kms long border with China is being considered.
“We are committed to enhancing your operational and infrastructure capabilities. Recently, we got a proposal to build 50 new border posts for the force and we are working on it,” Singh said.
Sources told ToI that four more battalions (over 4,000 troops) would be raised in the ITBP for the new BoPs.
Addition of new BoPs along Indo-China border will take the existing number of outposts from 176 to 226, which officials say, will reduce the patrolling distance and provide better coordination and communication among troops. The development will ensure that the forward outposts are not left unattended during extreme snow and cold; which usually allowed Chinese troops to transgress into disputed territory.
Subsequently, ITBP has been given an exclusive satellite bandwidth for aerial surveillance of the enemy troops’ movements.
Director General ITBP – R K Pachnanda said on Tuesday that “ITBP has been made the nodal agency for G-SAT centre.”
Sources say that G-SAT-6 centre, which will be used by other agencies as well deployed at India-China border, is being established at ITBP’s Nizamuddin facility and team of experts will round the clock monitor from the sky the happenings at the border.
TOI had first reported on September 4 that MHA is considering giving a dedicated satellite bandwidth to enable border guarding forces to monitor the movement of Pakistani and Chinese troops in real time, track terrorist infiltration, map terrain and communicate effectively in remote areas, besides assessing the strength of soldiers and artillery deployed by neighbours near the border in case of a stand-off. It was felt that command, control, communication, surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance abilities of border security forces — the first line of border defence — needed to be made impregnable, sources said.
The Border Security Force (BSF) may also soon get a dedicated satellite bandwidth to monitor activities at India-Pakistan border. Sources say that recent standoff with China at Doklam forced government to consider giving satellite bandwidth to security forces at the border for real time monitoring.
Further, to increase human intelligence capabilities of ITBP, the force will soon open an “Intelligence Training School”, where about 50 troops from each battalion would be trained in gathering intelligence at the border.
Also, keeping in mind frequent face-offs with Chinese PLA, all the jawans of ITBP are now being made to learn basic “Mandarin” language during training period, so that they can effectively deal with such situations in future.
Rajnath Singh also said on Tuesday that a state-of-the-art composite BoP is presently being constructed in Ladakh to provide better working conditions to jawans guarding the border, especially those posted at high altitudes where the temperature dips to minus 45 degrees. The composite BoP, being constructed at a cost of Rs 17 crore, has features like central heating, roofs covered with solar panels, recreation rooms, toilets with running hot water and other modern facilities.
“If the model of this BoP is successful, then it will be implemented at other BoPs in Sikkim and eastern sector of this border. We are working to enhance road, mobile and satellite connectivity in the border areas for the ITBP,” he said.
Pachnanda said that government has also given a go-ahead to ITBP to hire helicopters for high-altitude operations.