To make sure there is not a repeat of incident like Doklam, where Indian and Chinese forces were face to face for months earlier this year, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which guards Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders, is taking precautionary measures and increasing its strength in the region next to the disputed tri-junction.
“Doklam is on India-China border, which is not our mandate but we are more alert in the area next to it and there is going to be slightly increased strength on the border just below the tri-junction (India-Bhutan-Tibet), which is on the southern side. The battalion headquarters is coming up in Yuksom in Sikkim while more sanctioned BoPs (border out posts) will be established in the area,” SSB Director General Rajni Kant Mishra told reporters on the occasion of 54th raising day of the force.
He was asked about the Sashastra Seema Bal’s (SSB) preparations in view of the 73 day-long military standoff between the India and China in Doklam in last summer.
“We have the sanctions to establish a total of 734 BoPs along both Nepal and Bhutan borders and we have 635 now on the ground,” the DG said.
He added that the central paramilitary force keeps itself informed about the developments related to trans-border crimes, issues affecting the local border population and other activities.
Asked about the influence of China in Nepal and some of its study centres functioning in the Himalayan country, the DG said the force is only concerned about those developments in the neighborhood which have ramifications on the 1,751-km long India-Nepal border that they guard.
“The impact of Chinese interference on crimes (along India-Nepal border) has not been noticed in the past,” he said.
Of course, the SSB chief said, infiltration of terrorist elements of other countries happened in the past where they used this border (India-Nepal) to enter into India.
“Any development that is going to affect our border population and any impact on trans-border crime is what we keep a watch on. It is too early to say anything about the impact on border crimes with the changing political situation in Nepal,” he said.
Our mandate, he said, is to be present at the border and secure and serve the border population and to act against trans-border crimes.
“We have a very limited mandate to go into political developments across the border,” he said.
To secure the borders through technology, SSB is in the process of installing laser fence at certain points along Nepal and Bhutan borders to prevent infiltration of terror modules and smuggling.
Inspector General (Operations) of SSB – A K Singh said that laser fences will be deployed in areas that are uninhabited due to difficult geographical terrain and are prone to smuggling and other terror activities.
SSB is mandated to secure 699 kms long Indo-Bhutan border and 1758 kms long Indo-Nepal border and keeps a watch on activities of fake currency/drugs/wildlife smugglers, human trafficking rackets and movement of terrorists.
A K Singh said that “the fake Indian currency notes recovered by them post demonetisation are of low quality”.
During 2017, SSB has made seizures of more than Rs 600 crore.