Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)

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Air wing

2018: to keep eye on China border

Neeraj Chauhan, ITBP gets air wing to keep watch on China border, January 15, 2018: The Times of India


The Indo-Tibetan Border Police will soon have an air wing primarily for reconnaissance so that transgressions by PLA, troop build-up and construction activities across the border can be spotted in time.

Until now, IAF and Border Security Force (BSF) provided air support to ITBP on an emergency basis.

Learning from the Doklam experience, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) will soon have an air wing primarily for reconnaissance so that transgressions by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), troop build-up and construction activities across the border can be spotted in time.

For starters, two twin-engined helicopters are being procured, which will be used for recce, transportation of combat troops, evacuation of dead, injured and sick jawans, supplying rations and flying VIPs at altitudes of 16,000-18,000 feet in the Himalayas.

Sources said the ITBP helicopters will operate from its bases in Chandigarh and Borjhar (Guwahati), covering almost the whole 3,488-km-long border with China, from J&K to Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the northeast region, including Sikkim. The process to acquire the helicopters on wet lease has been initiated.

The helicopters will have several features to meet operational exigencies at high altitudes and reach forward locations. The twin-engine helicopters will be able to transport 8-10 troopers on a single trip, carry arms/ammunition/explosives to forward locations, fly for two hours without refuelling, have night flying capability and special features for slithering of troopers and dropping of rations. ITBP director general R K Pachnanda will be in command of the air wing.

The government has asked ITBP to make sure that pilots and crew are well acquainted with the border and they don't cross the Line of Actual Control (LAC)/International Border (IB) under any circumstances. "The move is aimed at keeping an eye on Chinese activities across the border, including construction of roads, building permanent structures in disputed area across the LAC, PLA troop build-up and also to stay informed about transgressions into Indian villages and enhance mobility of our troops, so that there is no delay on our part in case China tries something mischievous," a home ministry source said.

Until now, IAF and Border Security Force (BSF) provided air support to ITBP on an emergency basis. At times, there was no air support on the China border due to various reasons. After the Doklam standoff, the government decided to beef up its border infrastructure and reconnaissance capabilities and home minister Rajnath Singh made two visits to the sensitive border.

As first reported by TOI, the government recently gave dedicated satellite bandwidth to ITBP so that it can have better command, control, communication, surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance abilities on the border.

Medical issues

Psychiatric illnesses

Psychiatric illness costs 100 ITBP jawans their jobs

PTI | Aug 25, 2014 The Times of India

The country's frontline fighting force against China — the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) — has decided to compulsorily retire over 100 of its serving soldiers after they were found to be suffering from various type of psychiatric disorders, including the incurable Alzheimer's disease.

The cases in the mountain trained paramilitary has sent alarm bells ringing after it was found that troops who have largely served over a decade in the force could become a "serious risk" for their colleagues or could turn "maniac" while rendering sensitive duties.

Officials and medical experts in the force said while there is no conclusive reason to suggest the exact reasons for these mental disorders and disability diseases cropping up in the force, some of the reasons could be attributed to the genetic history of the individual soldier while some factors related to stress on duty and family tensions too can lead to the eruption of such traits in the personnel.

NW Frontier

2019: command shifted to Leh

January 18, 2019: The Times of India

Amid growing concerns over the Chinese military buildup along the eastern flank of the country, the government has ordered moving a strategic Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) command from its current base in Chandigarh by over 960 km to the border of Leh in Jammu & Kashmir, official sources said.

The North West (NW) frontier of the ITBP, tasked to guard the 3,488-km long Sino-India border in peace times, is headed by an Inspector General (IG) of police-rank officer, which is equivalent to a Major General rank in the Army.

The frontier has been ordered to move ‘lock, stock, and barrel’ by March-end and will have to be operationalised at the new location from April 1.

The Leh district in the mountains of J&K is the base for the 14 Corps of the Army that is headed by a Lt Generalrank officer and the new shift will allow a better interaction between the two forces “for strategic and defence planning”, official sources said.

The Army, which carved out a separate Corps in Leh after Jammu and Srinagar following the Kargil intrusion in 1999, has been demanding operational control over the ITBP, a proposal rejected by the government time and again.

Personnel issues

Recruitment: Attracting well educated youths/ 2015

The educational qualifications of the ITBP jawans in the batch of 2015; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Nov 15 2015

The Times of India, Nov 15 2015

Ajay Sura

College grads join ITBP as jawans

Job Security, Better Perks Key Factors

Better perks and job security seem to be attracting even the odd MBA degree-holder to the paramilitary forces. So what if they have to join at the bottom of the pyramid as jawans.

Of the 517 jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) that passed out of the Basic Training Centre (BTC) at Bhanu near Panchkula on Saturday , 80% had higher education including college degrees while 20% cleared standard X schooling, the basic qualification for jawans. Data given by ITBP officials showed that 107 constable (general duty) that were inducted into the paramilitary force were class X pass-outs. As many as 417 had degrees ranging from MBA, BTech, master's in commerce, master's in arts, MSc, BSc, BCom, BA, BCA and senior secondary examination. P S Papta, deputy inspector general at the training centre, said that in every new batch of recruits, the numbers of candidates with higher degrees is increasing. Asked if this affected training in any way , he insisted that they have never witnessed any incident of insubordination. “In fact, the percentage of unsuccessful candidates has come down to 1.7 from 14,“ he said.

“An ITBP jawan gets around 25,000 per month and Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,000 special allowance while posted in high altitude areas,“ he said. “Up to 90% of his salary is saved because ration, uniform and accommodation is provided free.Ultimately , he gets a handsome amount compared to an MBA or BTech in the private sector these days.“

ITBP recruits were rigor ously trained for a period of 44 weeks during which they were taught to operate weapons, pa trol the borders, master warfare tactics, respond to natural calamities and prepare for challenges at the China border.

Telephone operators/ 2015

The Times of India, Jun 10 2015

Deeptiman Tiwary

A 2010 decision of the home ministry which had put telephone operators in combat roles on China border and forced trained commandos to supervise maintenance of vehicles has been struck down by the Delhi high court. In 2010, the home ministry had merged all cadres -as varied as motor driving, telecom, engineering and armorer (also known as minor or technical cadre) -of ITBP with general cadre (those engaged in combat roles) of the force and taken out a combined seniority list.

The notification had effectively led to a scenario where an officer with 15 years in telecom and having no experience in combat was suddenly leading battalions on China border while a commando with years of combat experience was handling purely technical work in the force.

A petition filed in the HC had challenged the notification on the ground that it adversely affected the overall efficacy of the force and unfairly granted seniority to officers of technical cadre over the general cadre.

The court, in an order passed last month, has observed that the decision was not just `bad in law' but also taken without assessing its impact on the efficacy of the force.

Calling the 2010 notification “premature“ and “violative of prescribed procedures“, the high court has said, “We have seen the original file (about the merger or der) of the respondents (union government and others). It is devoid of the consultative process and silent on the vital issues concerning the efficacy of the IndoTibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) as a paramilitary force. There is no deliberation at all in this regard let alone sufficient deliberation.“

It has also raised objections to the home ministry not consulting UPSC before issuing the notification and not taking approval of the ministry of finance. “In the circumstances, the impugned office memorandum dated 26.11.2010 cannot be sustained and hence it is quashed,“ the court order said. The order also cites the opinion of Inspector General (Training) of the force on the adverse impact of the merger on the operational capability of the force.

The IG's opinion -which held that the merger of the cadres would be “a great drawback and a minus point“ had been sought by the ministry .

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