Govt nod to raise 8 more ITBP battalions for deployment along China LAC
Force to get equipments at par with Army
In a bid to strengthen positions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Ladakh and other sectors, the Centre Government has given nod for raising and subsequent deployment of eight new battalions of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) along 4056 kilometers LAC that India shares with its neighbour in five States including Jammu and Kashmir.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Centre Government has approved raising of eight new battalions of the ITBP exclusively for deployment along LAC with China to strengthen the paramilitary force, which has been deployed all along the LAC with China including Eastern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir and four other States.
“The process for raising the new battalions would start shortly. As soon as training of the ITBP personnel for deployment in rugged mountains is completed, they will be deployed along 4056 kilometers LAC with China including 687 kilometers in Eastern Ladakh,” they said.
Asserting that new battalions will go a long way in strengthening Indian positions along the LAC with China, sources said the battalions would have the jawans well trained for deployment in the mountains and meeting any kind of challenges. The ITBP for the long had been stressing for increasing its men and machinery, which has been conceded by the Centre.
In addition to eight new battalions, sources said, the Centre has also given its nod to providing equipments to the ITBP at par with the Army to strengthen the force and keep it always ready for any kind of situation developing along the LAC though it didn’t foresee any kind of hostilities developing along the LAC.
“The Centre has approved strengthening equipments for the ITBP at par with the Army especially for the troops which were deployed along the LAC with China in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarakhand,” sources said, adding the Centre feels that strengthening the ITBP would mean strengthening Indian positions all along the LAC with China.
According to sources, the Centre has also approved Rs 500 crores worth grant that was in addition to raising of battalions and providing equipment to the paramilitary force. This amount, they said, would be used by the ITBP to strengthen infrastructure for its personnel deployed in mountains including construction of quarters and posts for them.
“The Centre has assigned the study for construction of quarters and posts in treacherous mountains, where the ITBP has been deployed, to IIT-Roorkie,” sources said, adding the constructions would start after receipt of the report as the Government has sanctioned the amount.
India has already conveyed to China that it was going to expedite construction of infrastructure along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh and that it shouldn’t try to disrupt it taking the excuse of un-demarcated boundary as it had done on some previous occasions.
India’s point of view has already been conveyed to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officials during series of meetings between Sino-Indian military officials at the Border Meeting Points on the LAC.
This time, according to sources, the Chinese attitude was very positive and they indicated that the PLA wouldn’t object to construction activity on the Indian side whenever it was taken up provided that it (the construction work) didn’t obstruct the activities of Chinese troops.
Sources said the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs, whose troops and para-military personnel-the Army and ITBP-cover the LAC along Eastern Ladakh, have decided to undertake large scale construction activity along the LAC for benefit of troops manning the LAC.
“The major focus was on construction of roads right up to the posts of the Indian Army and the ITBP to ensure free and easy access to the troops to carry out their activities along the LAC including deployment of men and machinery. The budgetary approvals for the construction works stand granted,” sources said, adding that the initial reaction from the Chinese Army was very positive as they were not averse to construction activity within the Indian side.