India-China: ITBP Now Controls Critical Heights Including ‘Black Top’ In Ladakh

Post the latest India-China clashes at the LAC, the Indian troops are in successful occupation of dominating heights near the Spanggur Gap. As per reports, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are manning to critical heights including the Black Top.

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Manning of these ‘new frontier’ signals that the Indians are in no mood of backing off from the disputed region.

According to a new report by the Times of India, the troops from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have moved from the Phurchuk La Pass (located at a height of 4,994 meters) and now deployed at new forward posts which were previously unoccupied.

“Until now, the ITBP was largely present only north of Pangong Dhan Singh Post near Finger 2 and Finger 3 area,” it added.

According to Capt. Dhanraj, a veteran from the Indian Army, the deployment and manning of unoccupied frontier posts symbolizes that the preparations are going on a war-footing as none of them are ready to back-off. “It’s a matter of national security, a question of prestige among the soldiers for both Indian and Chinese troops,” he added.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police, abbreviated as ITBP is a paramilitary organization under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Indian government, and is responsible for carrying out effective monitoring and patrolling at the Indo-Tibetan border. Deployed primarily at the Himalayas, the ITBP specializes in mountain warfare.

Recently, the force’s Director-General visited the forward areas and decorated 290 troops for bravery for the service during the recent clashes. The top officer praised his men for “displaying courage under adverse conditions”.

The new occupation of heights such as Black Top and Helmet Top, as per the reports, provides the Indian Forces with a strategic advantage and that now soldiers from both armies are only just a few hundred meters apart at some points.

With the ITBP’s manning of posts near these newly-captured peaks, New Delhi has now, symbolically, told that we have dug in, this is formally Indian territory and any counterattack made by the PLA would mean more serious and dangerous escalation.

“In his address to ITBP jawans last week, Deswal (ITBP DGP) had said that extra vehicles would be provided for troop movement between border outposts and thrust would be on road construction by the government to limit travel on ponies,” reports TOI.

The report also confirms that the Indian Army, along with the classified Special Frontier Force (SFF) and the ITBP now have effective control of the dominating heights at Black Top, Yellow Bump, and Helmet Top – which are strategic features providing a good tactical advantage over the PLA forces, overlooking the movements at the Chinese Post 42830 on its south and Digging Area and Chuti Chamla on its west.

“These positions on heights running corresponding to China’s People’s Liberation Army’s posts have been unoccupied for long. Our soldiers have fortified the Indian Border,” says a source to the TOI.

Another senior official was reported to be assuring that the ITBP now operates more than 39 permanent defense positions along the Line of Actual Control and the troops are “present in good numbers” near Chushul and Tara Border outposts, and that extra companies have been deployed from Chandigarh.

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