Acknowledging the importance of Information Technology, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is harnessing technology to keep borders safe even in the most difficult hilly terrains, says Raja Babu Singh, Inspector General (Training), ITBP, in an interaction with Elets News Network (ENN)’s Gautam Debroy
Tell us in brief about Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is a specialised mountain force and most of the officers and jawans are professionally trained mountaineers and skiers.
The force was raised on October 24, 1962. Earlier, we were deployed to guard the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh, and now our area has been extended up to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh covering 3,488 km of Indo-China Border and manning Border Outposts (BOPs) on altitudes ranging from 9,000’ to 18,700’ in the western, middle and eastern sector of the Indo-China Border.
Being the first responder for natural disasters in the Himalayas, ITBP has also been carrying out numerous rescue and relief operations. The work carried out by our jawans in the Uttarakhand natural disaster was commendable.
Do you make use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in ITBP?
ITBP has started making proper use of ICT in almost all the units and departments. It has been started under the joint committee headed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
In fact, we have already sent a proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for an IT training centre as a centre of excellence. We have suggested that at least 30 ITBP personnel should be given proper IT training. Efforts are on to integrate the Personnel Information System (PIS) of all the security agencies under one platform.
Some neighbouring countries are concentrating on technologies to develop their skills. What steps ITBP is taking in this regard?
Due to strong position of China in this region’s geopolitics, borders adjoining the neighbouring country are sensitive in nature. Since it is a hostile area, we are trying our best to guard it. Our men are truly dedicated towards its security.
We are, of course, well aware about the importance of IT. ITBP has to establish new dimensions of security and service of the nation in view of changing security scenario.
In addition to it, we have maintained the highest standards of training, and the training institutions have been provided with the required infrastructure and instructors.
In fact, we are also developing infrastructure on the BOPs. We have to be technically competent to deal with the new security threats in the present scenario. Efforts are on to get modern weapons and equipment to improve the professional skills of the force.
Quite often there are reports of incursion from the Chinese side. Did you identify any such areas, from where incursion takes place?
Yes, we have identified a few places both in the western as well as eastern sector, where there is a difference of perception. On one hand, there is a land parcel which we claim as ours, while the Chinese claim it as theirs. There are several such disputed pockets in both sectors.
We do conduct long-range patrolling in those areas. And quite occasionally, we also sit for meetings with the security agencies across the border.
What is ITBP doing for its jawans and their families?
The force is keen to work specially for the welfare of jawans and their families. Construction of new Separated Family Accommodation (SFA) is under progress. The construction work of an ITBP Public School building is on and once this school building is complete, the force personnel will have a unique educational institution in the national capital for their wards to get quality education.
Being the first responder for natural disaster in the Himalayas, ITBP has also been carrying out numerous rescue and relief operations. The work carried out by our jawans in the Uttarakhand natural disaster was commendable
What is the road ahead for ITBP?
Honorable Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured that ITBP will shortly have its own and dedicated air support system in place. He also announced to provide `175 crore for development of infrastructure on the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh. 54 new Border Outposts have been sanctioned by the Ministry to fill the gaps on the border of Arunachal Pradesh. We are also getting enough funds to modernise the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).
Thus, keeping all these matters into consideration, the ITBP has a huge responsibility and has a long way to go.