The border warriors

BSF training camp at Kharkan in Hoshiarpur

The border  warriors

battle-ready: women BSF trainees cross through smoke screens during battle inoculation at Kharkan camp.

With an ever-increasing influx of terrorists, drugs and weapons entering the Indian territory from the borders, there remains a continuous challenge to recruit fresh blood in the BSF and train them for any counter-insurgency. Tribune reporter Deepkamal Kaur and photographer Sarabjit Singh take a round of the BSF training camp at Kharkan in Hoshiarpur, which is well-equipped with ranges, grounds and instructors for specialised training

Taking up a daunting task to train its recruits involved in the first line of control, the Subsidiary Training Centre of the Border Security Force at Kharkan in Hoshiarpur has a lot to offer.

A firing range instructor takes a class of trainees around the target area at Kharkan camp.

Spread in an area of 898 acres along the Una road, multiple batches of more than 1,400 fresh recruits and in-service personnel are currently taking a rigorous training here before they join the 2.50-lakh strong force and are made capable enough to guard the 3,323 km India-Pakistan and the 4,096 km India-Bangladesh borders.

The tough regime for the 10-month training shapes up both their personality and built.

Most of the current trainees, who include over 900 women, hail from Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, West Bengal and Maharashtra. The 44-week rigorous training for the freshers includes PT, running, rope climbing, trench jumping, weapon handling, shooting practice, battle inoculation and horse riding.

Women trainees hone their shooting skills at the firing range on the STC grounds.

The Kharkan campus is well equipped with shooting ranges, training areas, stadium etc. It encompasses 224.5 acres of forest area around where several herds of monkeys, wild cats and snakes thrive. It is in this jungle that the trainees learn to set up camps. Despite cold weather, recruits have to wake up early in the morning and reach the training grounds even when it is still dark. The tough regime that they are made to follow for the 10-month training shapes up both their personality and built. The instructors training them on the campus share that there is a drastic change in the looks, conduct and posture of the trainees on the occasion of the passing-out parade and when their families catch up with them, it is difficult for them to recognise their wards. 

BSF trainees parade with weapons.
Kharkan Camp IG Madhu Sudan Sharma and Commandant (Training) SS Mand during a meeting.
BSF trainees practice rope climbing during a training session.
A BSF trainee practices monkey method rope climbing.
A jockey tries his hand at tent pegging at STC Kharkan Camp.
A women trainee crosses a trench as a part of the daily drill.
The entrance to Sub-Training Centre of the BSF at Kharkan in Hoshiarpur.

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