For the first time in its over 50 years history, the ITBP is raising and deploying a mechanised column of power vehicles and machines to speedily mobilise troops along the Sino-India border in case of Chinese military transgressions and Doklam-like standoffs.
The decision to raise such a military-style combat wing in the paramilitary was taken after the Union home ministry recently approved deployment of snow scooters at all the high-altitude border outposts of the mountain-warfare trained force along the 3,488-km long frontier it guards.
A senior home ministry official told on the condition of anonymity that the mechanised column of the force will comprise over 250 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snow scooters, excavators and few other medium-lift four-wheeled vehicles.
While the army has the mechanised infantry, it was essential to have a mechanised column in the border guarding force as it secures this border in peace times and will bear the first onslaught in case of a war or a conflict, the official said explaining the rationale for the latest move.
A senior ITBP official said many more such vehicles and machines, including anti-skid ATVs, will be procured by the force in the next few months.
The force has about 30 border posts above the height of 15,000 feet and some 50 such posts above 12,000 feet and the home ministry has accorded sanctions to the ITBP to have at least one snow scooter at each of these frontier bases.
Upgrading its firepower
The force has also been given sanctions to upgrade its firepower by modernising the support weapons like 81mm mortars.
China border roads
Apart from expeditiously completing the construction of China border roads in the wake of Doklam-like incidents and transgressions, the government has decided to strengthen the assets and strength of the both the army and the ITBP, the first line of defence on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Enhancing infrastructure along the border
The defence ministry had recently decided to significantly enhance infrastructure along this border including around the areas of dispute with the Chinese forces.
The decision was taken at the Army’s commanders conference which extensively deliberated on the Dokalam face off with China besides analysing all possible security challenges on the northern border.