NEW DELHI ;
THE Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has begun deployment of 40 fresh companies across various locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in view of the ongoing standoff and violent clashes between the armies of the two countries, officials said on Tuesday. The border guarding force is also moving its mechanised column assets like SUVs, all-terrain vehicles, snow scooters and trucks to forward locations in the midst of the projected increase in the number of troops at border units and fresh directives to undertake “additional” patrols.
They said all these units, with an operational strength of about 4,000 mountain-warfare trained troops, are being withdrawn from internal security duties from various parts of the country. About 40 ITBP companies are being withdrawn and are being mobilised to various locations along the LAC in various sectors including Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, official sources said. They said the frontier formations of the force have been asked to prepare quarantine facilities for these new units as they are coming from the mainland and their exposure to the coronavirus pandemic cannot be ignored.
These troops, during their two-weeks quarantine, will also have the opportunity to prepare and acclimatise for high-altitude deployment along LAC that is marked by freezing temperatures and thin oxygen levels, they said. A “good number” of officers who command companies and battalions are also being posted at the two newly operationalised commands of the force -- western headquartered at Chandigarh and eastern at Guwahati, they said. An Inspector General (IG) was given the charge of the command in Chandigarh recently while the one at Guwahati is being looked after by an IG based in Delhi.
The commands are supposed to be headed by Additional Director General (ADG) rank officers but the nearly-90,000 personnel strong force, at present, has none. It is understood that the force has sought the Union Home Ministry’s intervention in filling up vacant posts at the senior level. Sources said while 15 ITBP companies were recently withdrawn from various locations of the country including Jammu, the rest are being pulled out from Delhi, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh and few other locations.