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ITBP deployment along China border to go up
35 new posts, 13 more battalions along Himalayan frontier soon
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, August 20
Undertaking its first major expansion since 1978, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) is setting up 35 new border outposts to plug the existing gaps in defences along the Himalayan frontier.

These posts will complement the existing 142 outposts manned by the force to guard the Line of Actual Control and the international border with China.

“At present, the gap between two posts varies from 50 to 130 kms. We intend to reduce this to an average of 20 kms,” ITBP Director-General, R.K. Bhatia, told The Tribune during a visit to the force’s Basic Training Centre at Ramgarh near here today.

In addition, 102 existing posts are being upgraded with additional manpower and better infrastructural facilities to cater to the operational requirements that include general surveillance and undertaking long-range patrols in difficult conditions. “We have identified areas in consultation with the Army where new border outposts or additional troop strength is required,” Bhatia added.

As part of its ongoing restructuring and expansion, 13 new battalions are being raised this year. The strength of 20 existing battalions is being increased by two companies each. A company comprises 120 men. To cater to the expansion programme, the ITBP has just finished recruiting 13,500 personnel. Their training is scheduled to begin in October.

Interestingly, the ITBP has also started recruiting troops from all across the country instead of drawing manpower from the hilly regions as was the practice earlier. With the force now acquiring an “all-India character”, some battalions are now rotated to stations in south, central and western parts of the country. This is done so to facilitate training, rest and recuperation of troops, who are deployed at altitudes above 9,000 feet and also enable them to be closer home at times.

Bhatia also said that as part of its modernisation programme, the force is looking to replace its locally manufactured INSAS rifles. “We would be going in for the more advanced version of the INSAS rifle that is coming up. It is an improvement over the existing version, incorporating some imported components and design modifications,” he added.

All terrain vehicles, of which are 70 are being sources from local manufacturers, advanced surveillance equipment and more night vision goggles are also on the cards.





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