On the occasion of raising day of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi commended the force for valour & determination that they can successfully overcome the most daunting of challenges.
India salutes the indomitable spirit of the @ITBP_official Himveers on their Raising Day. Such is their valour & determination that they can successfully overcome the most daunting of challenges. We are equally proud of the humanitarian efforts of ITBP during times of disasters.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 24, 2020
Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, in his address to the ITBP troops, indirectly referencing to the India-China border clash in eastern Ladakh, said that the myth of some countries who believed that they had powerful armies have been broken, reported PTI.
The Minister of Home Affairs said that India believed in the philosophy of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” or the world is one family, the culture of the country teaches it to worship both “shastra and astra” or sacred scriptures and weapons at the same time, stated the report.
“This has taught us that the enemy can raise its head anytime, anywhere and we should be fully prepared to face any possibility. The ITBP is an important pillar of that preparedness of the country,” Reddy said.
Reddy further announced the government’s nod for the establishing 47 new border posts along with the acquisition of special clothing and equipment for high-altitude locations.
The developments come in the backdrop of border tensions between India and China after a violent clash broke out in the Galwan valley in June that killed 20 Indian soldiers.
What is the purpose of ITBP?
ITBP was formed as a consequence of the Indo-China war on October 24, 1962, initially under the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Act. In 1992, parliament enacted the ITBP Force Act and the rules thereunder were framed in 1994.
The force is responsible for guarding the 3488-km-long Sino-India Line of Actual Control (LAC). The forces are also trained to work in disaster management and have been involved in several United Nations Peacekeeping operations in Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Mozambique and Kosovo.
Even now during the Covid-19 pandemic, the ITBP has been put in charge of the largest Covid facility in the country. The 10,000-bed capacity Covid-19 care centre in Delhi has over 1,000 doctors of the ITBP and other Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and 2,000 paramedics and security staff deployed at this facility, stated a New Indian Express report.
The ITBP personnel are specially trained in mountain warfare and are stationed at 9,000-18,700 feet on the ITBP posts in the Himalayas. Initially, there were only 4 battalions when the force was raised. Now, the force has 90,000 personnel with 60 battalions.
ITBP’s Role In Current Border Clash
The fresh border tensions that erupted in June after the violent clash in the Galwan valley was followed by several more clashes. In August, the force said that they “fought the whole night” at the Line of Actual Control during these skirmishes at the border.
“At places, they (ITBP) gave a determined standoff for about 17-20 hours throughout,” the border force said. “Due to the high-altitude training and manoeuver experience of the force in the Himalayas, the ITBP troops kept the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops at bay and due to the all-out and befitting response of ITBP jawans at almost all fronts, many areas were safeguarded in the hyper-sensitive areas,” it said.
It further said that the troops “not only effectively used the shield to protect themselves but also responded fiercely to the advancing PLA troops and brought the situation under control”.
Reportedly, recommendations for awarding gallantry medals to 21 troops who fought the PLA troops have been sent to the government.
The government has assured the force that there will be “no dearth of funds” and that it will provide better vehicles, bullet-proof jackets and helmets, clothing and ration to its troops on the border.