Giving a boost to the long-sidelined Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the government has given in-principle approval for the induction of nearly 12,000 personnel into the mountain-based force.
The move comes amid over 300 transgressions by the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army across the Line of Actual Control till August this year. The ITBP guards the 3,488 km India-China border.
Commissioned as a crack mountain commando force, the ITBP has been sadly degraded since it is under the control of the union home ministry rather than the Indian Army. The government has now taken a small step towards removing the anomaly.
The 12 new battalions (12,000 personnel) will be recruited mainly for deployment at 54 new border outposts that will be set up along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh, according to defence ministry officials.
The setting up of new posts, announced by home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday, will bolster the presence of the crack regiments along the strategic frontier in Arunachal Pradesh, which has seen the maximum incursion attempts by the PLA, aided by large gaps between two border posts.
According to a recent statement in parliament, the Chinese side transgressed the border 334 times till 4 August this year. The number of such incidents stood at 411 in 2013, 426 in 2012 and 213 in 2011, Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had said on the floor of the House.
The present strength of the ITBP is 62 battalions; 58 of them are deployed along the India-China border and remaining four in Naxalite-hit areas.
Apart from setting up of 54 new border outposts, the home minister had also announced a Rs175 crore package for beefing up infrastructure along the border in Arunachal Pradesh.