Bookmark and Share
Overview:

Created in the aftermath of the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is one of the seven Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs) under the control of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. ITBP is tasked primarily with the protection of the strategically and geopolitically important Indo-China border, a task it shares with the Indian Army. A multi-dimensional force, ITBP serves as an “integrated intelligence, signal, pioneer, engineering, medical, and guerilla unit.” In addition to its primary role, the force is well versed in counter-insurgency, disaster management, and basic internal security duties. It also occasionally serves in UN peacekeeping operations abroad. The force, as a result of its deployment zone, also boasts a formidable mountaineering record, including successfully ascending Mt. Everest four times. China’s economic and military rise has underscored the importance of ITBP and resulted in a turf battle between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defense over its control. Recent Chinese incursions into Indian territory highlight the need to bolster the force. Unlike other CPMFs, especially the border guarding forces, ITBP maintains a fairly clean human rights record.

more
History:

The Sino-Indian War of 1962 revealed a glaring weakness in India’s protection of its border with China. Prior to 1962, much of the border was unprotected and the people living there were effectively not a part of mainstream India. It also demonstrated India’s inability to engage in mountain warfare and operations in high altitude areas. With these revelations in mind, the Indian government created the Frontier Rifles (which was later renamed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police) on October 24, 1962. Initially, ITBP was established under the Central Reserve Police Force Act of 1949. It was only in 1992 that the Parliament passed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force Act, and in 1994 the ITBP Rules. The creation, training, and administration of ITBP fell to the Intelligence Bureau (IB), India’s internal intelligence agency who at that time was also responsible for external intelligence (the Research & Analysis Wing [RAW] replaced IB as the external intelligence agency in 1968). The initial vision for ITBP was to create a guerilla force that could engage in intelligence operations as well as regular fighting while remaining self-sufficient.

 

ITBP initially started with four battalions with two more being raised in 1964. Right from the group’s initiation it became clear that the ITBP may be used for purposes other than border protection. One of the battalions, during the 1965 war, was sent to counter to terrorists in the Jammu & Kashmir, a duty for which other paramilitary forces as well as the Indian Army had been deployed. During the 1971 War, when the force had a total of eight battalions, two were posted in Kashmir for internal security duties. In September 1971, ITBP was released from IB control and transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

 

In 1978, ITBP was restructured to imitate the Border Security Force (BSF) which was guarding the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladeshi borders. As a result, the force came to include service and support battalions (including transport and communications), sector headquarters, training schools, a base hospital, etc. Throughout its history, ITBP has undergone steady expansion, from four initial battalions in 1962, 25 in 1995, and 45 current ones, with plans to raise others.

 

In addition to the Himalaya sector, ITBP personnel have been deployed to various other parts of the country as well. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Punjab was afflicted with Sikh militancy and was in a state of chaos. The central government responded by ordering ITBP to deploy personnel to Punjab and create a separate sector for those operations. The outbreak of violence in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990 saw the deployment of two ITBP battalions for internal security purposes. Additionally, ITBP was also used for security provision in Delhi during ASIAD (the Asian Games) in 1982. ITBP was protecting Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the time of her assassination in 1984.

 

In 2003, the force was assigned responsibility for the Indo-China border in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. More recently, ITBP has been involved in counter-insurgency operations in areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), which is government speak for Naxal or Maoist rebels.

more
What it Does:

In 1976, the Rustamji Committee (named after K.F. Rustamji, a former Special Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs) recommended a fundamental restructuring of ITBP and its duties. The Committee of Secretaries decided to expand ITBP’s role and assigned it additional responsibilities. Today, ITBP considers the following its major duties:

 

  • Vigil on the northern border, detection and prevention of border violation, and promotion of sense of security among the local populace
  • Check illegal immigration, trans-border smuggling, and crime
  • Security to sensitive installations, banks, and protected persons
  • Restore and preserve order in any area in the event of disturbance

 

Border Protection: Protection of the Indo-China border is the primary duty of ITBP. The almost 3,500 km border, divided into eastern, middle, and western sectors, extends from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh. ITBP border out posts are located at altitudes of 9,000 feet to 18,000 feet. In the northern sector, weather conditions are unusually bad, and injury and death are not uncommon. In 2003-2004, ITBP replaced the Assam Rifles in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, which form the eastern sector. Almost two-thirds of ITBP border outposts are not connected by road and have to be air maintained. The Home Ministry has recently taken steps to construct 27 roads along the border in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

Border protection primarily involves undertaking long range and short range patrol to keep unwanted elements out of India. In the event of Chinese incursion into India, ITBP, like the BSF on the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders, will be the first force to face the onslaught and fight back until the Army takes over.

 

Security Provision: ITBP’s security provision duties extend into three areas – protection of VIPs, protection of vulnerable locations, and protection of people during major events in its areas of deployment.

 

ITBP provides security for over 10 Z+ authorized VIPs. Z+ is the highest personal security cover in India reserved usually for those considered most at risk and includes a security bubble of 36 personnel. Past and present luminaries they have protected include Omar Abdullah, the current Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir; M M Sayeed, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister; V P Singh, former prime minister of India; Murli Manohar Joshi, a top member of the Bharatiya Janata Party; and others. ITBP has become so entrenched in VIP security that it conducts its own Anti-Terrorist and VIP Protection Commando Course.

 

In addition to individuals, ITBP provides security for vital installations such as the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential House) and Parliament House in New Delhi, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, and Indian diplomatic installations in Afghanistan – the embassy in Kabul as well as the consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad. It is responsible for the security of Kasab, the lone 26/11 survivor, at Arthur Road Jail. ITBP also protects major branches of national banks in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh and Leh and Ladakh. Since 1981, ITBP has been responsible for providing security and logistics assistance (including medical and communications) to pilgrims during the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, which journeys from Uttarakhand deep into Tibet. 

 

Internal Security: ITBP personnel have participated in counter-insurgency operations in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and areas affected by LWE, including Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Chattisgarh. Additionally, it also takes on a broad range of internal security duties such as riot control, maintenance of law and order, election security, etc. To prepare its troops for deployment to Maoist affected areas, ITBP established a self-funded counter-insurgency training school in 2009. The Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School has proved to be an enormous success and was finally recognized by the Ministry of Home Affairs in May 2011. In addition to training its own troops, the school also trains personnel from other forces and states.

 

Disaster Management: ITBP plays an important role in disaster management in the northeast. It is the first responder for Himalayan incidents. It has established 8 Regional Response Centers throughout the northeast to coordinate rescue and relief operations. It also provides disaster management training for other forces through its National Center for Training in Search, Rescue & Disaster Response based in Haryana. ITBP is also a part of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), an entity of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) tasked with rescue and relief operations and has its two battalions stationed in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

 

UN Missions: ITBP frequently represents India as part of UN peacekeeping forces. Personnel have been deployed in Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Mozambique, and Congo. It maintains a UN specific training center called the National Center for UN CIVPOL Training to conduct UN missions’ selection as well as impart pre-deployment training.

 

ITBP also operates alongside IB in the Himalayan sector. It provides security and assists IB in “controlling trans-border crime, intelligence collection, and interrogation” of captured smuggles and infiltrators.

more
Where Does the Money Go:

Aside from operational and maintenance expenses (salary, equipment, basic upkeep, etc), a significant portion of ITBP funds go toward its restructuring and expansion goals 13 new battalions have been sanctioned along with plans to build to 35 new border outposts. The Home Ministry wants to add around 30,000 new personnel to ITBP. This would require more training facilities and expanded infrastructure.

more
Controversies:

Smuggling

The porous Indo-China border is a hot spot for smuggling. There has been an increase in volume of items such as Pashmina wool (derived from the Himalayan mountain goat), shantoosh wool (derived from Tibetan antelope Chiru), red sandalwood, tiger and leopard skins, scotch whisky as well as other common items. As the border protection force, a major mandate of the ITBP is to prevent cross border smuggling and apprehend smugglers. However, investigations and arrests have revealed that corrupt ITBP personnel are complicit in smuggling operations.

 

In August 2010, the Andhra Pradesh police intercepted trucks containing 12 tons of red sander wood en route to China. The truck drivers had been issued permits by ITBP. Further investigation revealed the role of ITBP personnel in the incident, and as a result an assistant commander and an inspector were suspended. The increase in smuggling traffic hints at the involvement of additional personnel who have till now evaded arrests. The environment and economic effects of smuggling aside, a rise in smuggling indicates lax border security which can be exploited for a variety of other purposes. This is a cause for concern given the sometimes acrimonious relationship between India and China.

 

Cross Border Smuggling on Rise In Indo-China Border (by Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times)

Smuggling of Tiger Skins Is Rife and Growing, Says Study (by Ed Stoddard, Reuters)

The Tiger’s Last Sigh (by Belinda Wright, Tehelka)

ITBP Suspends Two Officers Held in Smuggling Case (Hindustan Times)

Wood Smuggling: ITBP Officer Took Rs 6 lakh, Say Police (by Hemlata Verma, Indian Express)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Focus Primarily on Border Guarding

Despite being sanctioned as a border guarding force, ITBP has been repeatedly used for duties outside its scope, including counterinsurgency, infrastructure protection, and VIP protection. In the wake of the Kargil War, the Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by then Home Minister L K Advani, published a report in 2001 titled “Reforming the National Security System” that recommended that certain fundamental changes be implemented in order to make India more secure. One of the main recommendations for effective border management was to limit border guarding forces for border duty only. The report stated:

 

“Border Guarding Forces need to be distinguished from other CPMF and the Central Police Organizations because of their distinctive functions. It is imperative that the Border Guarding Forces are not deployed in the States to deal with internal disturbances, law and order duties and counter insurgency operation (author’s emphasis). Withdrawal of Border Guarding Forces for such duties limits their capabilities to guard the borders effectively. While there may be exceptional circumstances where it may be necessary to utilize the services of Border Guarding Forces for performing law and order/counter-insurgency duties, as a rule, these forces should not be withdrawn from the borders.”

 

ITBP’s duties, as described above, are wide and varied. Being deployed for counterinsurgency in areas affected by LWE or becoming a VIP protection agency takes away limited resources from the Indo-China border. The problems at the Indo-China border, described above, need requires the force’s full attention. The ITBP therefore should concentrate primarily on border protection duties and let other CMPFs, state police organizations, and specialized agencies handle internal security and counter insurgency operations.

 

India's Border Management: Select Documents (by Pushpa Das, Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis)

Border Management: Need for Reform (by Gurmeet Kanwal, Rediff News)

Time to Merge Troops under Home Ministry (by Nitin Pai, Daily News & Analysis)

One Border, One Force - A Concept whose Time has Arrived (DefenceInfo.com)

Pentagon Warns India of Chinese Build-up (by Rajat Pandit, Times of India)

more
Debate:

ITBP’s Operational control under Ministry of Home Affairs or Ministry of Defense

The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defense, as a result of an overlap in their respective duties to protect India, often engage in turf battles. A major point of contention between the two forces has been the proper role of the Assam Rifles (AR) on the Indo-Myanmar border and the northeast. Recently however, a debate over the operational control of ITBP has manifested itself into a point of disagreement as well.

 

Operational Control of the Force Should be under the Army:

The Army believes that given the porous nature of the border, recent Chinese incursions into Indian territory, and China’s growing military power and buildup, the Army should be authorized operational control of ITBP for the required “cohesion, coordination, and synergy” to counter the threats. The Army first proposed operational control of ITBP in 2004-2005; however, it resulted in no action. A spike in incursions and Chinese build up in recent years has brought the issue to surface again. China allegedly breached the Line of Actual Control (LAC) over 280 times in 2008, and continued to do so in 2009, 2010, and 2011. A note passed to India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in September 2011 revealed that Chinese troops made 50 incursions in the last three months, sometimes as far as 7 km inside Indian territory. On March 16, 2012, Chinese helicopters violated Indian airspace in Himachal Pradesh. Defense Minister AK Antony in September 2011 alluded to the fact that “China is strengthening its capability on the border area.”

 

While ITBP patrols and guards the border, the Army is deployed to provide deeper cover. In the event of conflict, the Army is authorized operational control of ITBP. The Army believes that such an arrangement on this sensitive border does not result in effective utilization of all resources and would create command and control and communication difficulties.

 

In the Army Eye (by Chandrani Banerjee, Outlook)

Army Wants Operational Control of ITBP for Better Border Posture Against China (By Rajat Pandit, Times of India)

Dhumal Draws PM's Attention to Chinese Incursions (Zeenews.com)

Chinese Incursions, Now and Then (by Claude Apri, Indian Defense Review)

 

 

Operational Control of the Force Should be under the Ministry of Home Affairs:

This position is espoused by the Home Ministry. Home Ministry believes that placing ITBP under the operational control of the Army would result in a loss of morale among ITBP personnel by hinting that their efforts to secure such a difficult terrain have largely gone unnoticed. Senior ITBP officials are also reluctant to come under operational control and there have conflicts between Army and ITBP personnel before. Additionally, MEA disagrees with the army proposal as it believes that such a move will send a wrong signal to China who might respond by further arming its side of the border. The transfer of operational control would also mean a reduction in the power and reach of Home Affairs, a move that any bureaucracy would seek to avoid.

 

Indian Borders: Threats and Challenges (by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Border Darshan)

MHA, MoD Spar over 'Operational Control' of ITBP (by Deepak K Upreti, Deccan Herald)

Home Ministry to Oppose Army's Proposal on ITBP (Zeenews.com)

No Progress on Bringing ITBP under Army (Zeenews.com)

AK Antony Admits China Incursion (Daily News & Analysis)

more
Former Directors:

Shri Ranjit Sinha

Shri Ranjit Sinha served as director general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police from August 2011 until December 2012, when he took over the Central Bureau of Investigation. Sinha is a 1974 batch Bihar cadre IPS officer. He holds a master’s degree from Patna University, an M. Phil from the Indian Institute of Public Administration, and diploma in HR Management from Wollongong University.

 

He has previously served as the Additional Superintendent of Police at Ranchi and Superintendent of Police, Special Branch at Police Headquarters in Patna. He first came to central government as the deputy inspector general, Central Bureau of Investigation, Patna and later as the joint director (anti-corruption) and joint director (administration) in Delhi. He later joined the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as inspector general (operations) and inspector general (personnel) at CRPF Directorate General. He was later promoted to be the assistant director general of ITBP. Before serving as the director general of ITBP, he served as the director general of the Railway Protection Force.

more

Comments

Deepak Kumar Giri 5 years ago
EWS1023 RATNAKAR KHAND SOUTH CITY ,LUCKNOW

Leave a comment

Founded: 1962
Annual Budget: Rs. 2432.75 crore ($475 million)
Employees: 45,000
Official Website: http://itbpolice.nic.in/
Indo-Tibetan Border Police
  • Latest News
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

Created in the aftermath of the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is one of the seven Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs) under the control of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. ITBP is tasked primarily with the protection of the strategically and geopolitically important Indo-China border, a task it shares with the Indian Army. A multi-dimensional force, ITBP serves as an “integrated intelligence, signal, pioneer, engineering, medical, and guerilla unit.” In addition to its primary role, the force is well versed in counter-insurgency, disaster management, and basic internal security duties. It also occasionally serves in UN peacekeeping operations abroad. The force, as a result of its deployment zone, also boasts a formidable mountaineering record, including successfully ascending Mt. Everest four times. China’s economic and military rise has underscored the importance of ITBP and resulted in a turf battle between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defense over its control. Recent Chinese incursions into Indian territory highlight the need to bolster the force. Unlike other CPMFs, especially the border guarding forces, ITBP maintains a fairly clean human rights record.

more
History:

The Sino-Indian War of 1962 revealed a glaring weakness in India’s protection of its border with China. Prior to 1962, much of the border was unprotected and the people living there were effectively not a part of mainstream India. It also demonstrated India’s inability to engage in mountain warfare and operations in high altitude areas. With these revelations in mind, the Indian government created the Frontier Rifles (which was later renamed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police) on October 24, 1962. Initially, ITBP was established under the Central Reserve Police Force Act of 1949. It was only in 1992 that the Parliament passed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force Act, and in 1994 the ITBP Rules. The creation, training, and administration of ITBP fell to the Intelligence Bureau (IB), India’s internal intelligence agency who at that time was also responsible for external intelligence (the Research & Analysis Wing [RAW] replaced IB as the external intelligence agency in 1968). The initial vision for ITBP was to create a guerilla force that could engage in intelligence operations as well as regular fighting while remaining self-sufficient.

 

ITBP initially started with four battalions with two more being raised in 1964. Right from the group’s initiation it became clear that the ITBP may be used for purposes other than border protection. One of the battalions, during the 1965 war, was sent to counter to terrorists in the Jammu & Kashmir, a duty for which other paramilitary forces as well as the Indian Army had been deployed. During the 1971 War, when the force had a total of eight battalions, two were posted in Kashmir for internal security duties. In September 1971, ITBP was released from IB control and transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

 

In 1978, ITBP was restructured to imitate the Border Security Force (BSF) which was guarding the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladeshi borders. As a result, the force came to include service and support battalions (including transport and communications), sector headquarters, training schools, a base hospital, etc. Throughout its history, ITBP has undergone steady expansion, from four initial battalions in 1962, 25 in 1995, and 45 current ones, with plans to raise others.

 

In addition to the Himalaya sector, ITBP personnel have been deployed to various other parts of the country as well. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Punjab was afflicted with Sikh militancy and was in a state of chaos. The central government responded by ordering ITBP to deploy personnel to Punjab and create a separate sector for those operations. The outbreak of violence in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990 saw the deployment of two ITBP battalions for internal security purposes. Additionally, ITBP was also used for security provision in Delhi during ASIAD (the Asian Games) in 1982. ITBP was protecting Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the time of her assassination in 1984.

 

In 2003, the force was assigned responsibility for the Indo-China border in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. More recently, ITBP has been involved in counter-insurgency operations in areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), which is government speak for Naxal or Maoist rebels.

more
What it Does:

In 1976, the Rustamji Committee (named after K.F. Rustamji, a former Special Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs) recommended a fundamental restructuring of ITBP and its duties. The Committee of Secretaries decided to expand ITBP’s role and assigned it additional responsibilities. Today, ITBP considers the following its major duties:

 

  • Vigil on the northern border, detection and prevention of border violation, and promotion of sense of security among the local populace
  • Check illegal immigration, trans-border smuggling, and crime
  • Security to sensitive installations, banks, and protected persons
  • Restore and preserve order in any area in the event of disturbance

 

Border Protection: Protection of the Indo-China border is the primary duty of ITBP. The almost 3,500 km border, divided into eastern, middle, and western sectors, extends from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh. ITBP border out posts are located at altitudes of 9,000 feet to 18,000 feet. In the northern sector, weather conditions are unusually bad, and injury and death are not uncommon. In 2003-2004, ITBP replaced the Assam Rifles in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, which form the eastern sector. Almost two-thirds of ITBP border outposts are not connected by road and have to be air maintained. The Home Ministry has recently taken steps to construct 27 roads along the border in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

Border protection primarily involves undertaking long range and short range patrol to keep unwanted elements out of India. In the event of Chinese incursion into India, ITBP, like the BSF on the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders, will be the first force to face the onslaught and fight back until the Army takes over.

 

Security Provision: ITBP’s security provision duties extend into three areas – protection of VIPs, protection of vulnerable locations, and protection of people during major events in its areas of deployment.

 

ITBP provides security for over 10 Z+ authorized VIPs. Z+ is the highest personal security cover in India reserved usually for those considered most at risk and includes a security bubble of 36 personnel. Past and present luminaries they have protected include Omar Abdullah, the current Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir; M M Sayeed, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister; V P Singh, former prime minister of India; Murli Manohar Joshi, a top member of the Bharatiya Janata Party; and others. ITBP has become so entrenched in VIP security that it conducts its own Anti-Terrorist and VIP Protection Commando Course.

 

In addition to individuals, ITBP provides security for vital installations such as the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential House) and Parliament House in New Delhi, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, and Indian diplomatic installations in Afghanistan – the embassy in Kabul as well as the consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad. It is responsible for the security of Kasab, the lone 26/11 survivor, at Arthur Road Jail. ITBP also protects major branches of national banks in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh and Leh and Ladakh. Since 1981, ITBP has been responsible for providing security and logistics assistance (including medical and communications) to pilgrims during the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, which journeys from Uttarakhand deep into Tibet. 

 

Internal Security: ITBP personnel have participated in counter-insurgency operations in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and areas affected by LWE, including Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Chattisgarh. Additionally, it also takes on a broad range of internal security duties such as riot control, maintenance of law and order, election security, etc. To prepare its troops for deployment to Maoist affected areas, ITBP established a self-funded counter-insurgency training school in 2009. The Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School has proved to be an enormous success and was finally recognized by the Ministry of Home Affairs in May 2011. In addition to training its own troops, the school also trains personnel from other forces and states.

 

Disaster Management: ITBP plays an important role in disaster management in the northeast. It is the first responder for Himalayan incidents. It has established 8 Regional Response Centers throughout the northeast to coordinate rescue and relief operations. It also provides disaster management training for other forces through its National Center for Training in Search, Rescue & Disaster Response based in Haryana. ITBP is also a part of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), an entity of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) tasked with rescue and relief operations and has its two battalions stationed in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

 

UN Missions: ITBP frequently represents India as part of UN peacekeeping forces. Personnel have been deployed in Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Mozambique, and Congo. It maintains a UN specific training center called the National Center for UN CIVPOL Training to conduct UN missions’ selection as well as impart pre-deployment training.

 

ITBP also operates alongside IB in the Himalayan sector. It provides security and assists IB in “controlling trans-border crime, intelligence collection, and interrogation” of captured smuggles and infiltrators.

more
Where Does the Money Go:

Aside from operational and maintenance expenses (salary, equipment, basic upkeep, etc), a significant portion of ITBP funds go toward its restructuring and expansion goals 13 new battalions have been sanctioned along with plans to build to 35 new border outposts. The Home Ministry wants to add around 30,000 new personnel to ITBP. This would require more training facilities and expanded infrastructure.

more
Controversies:

Smuggling

The porous Indo-China border is a hot spot for smuggling. There has been an increase in volume of items such as Pashmina wool (derived from the Himalayan mountain goat), shantoosh wool (derived from Tibetan antelope Chiru), red sandalwood, tiger and leopard skins, scotch whisky as well as other common items. As the border protection force, a major mandate of the ITBP is to prevent cross border smuggling and apprehend smugglers. However, investigations and arrests have revealed that corrupt ITBP personnel are complicit in smuggling operations.

 

In August 2010, the Andhra Pradesh police intercepted trucks containing 12 tons of red sander wood en route to China. The truck drivers had been issued permits by ITBP. Further investigation revealed the role of ITBP personnel in the incident, and as a result an assistant commander and an inspector were suspended. The increase in smuggling traffic hints at the involvement of additional personnel who have till now evaded arrests. The environment and economic effects of smuggling aside, a rise in smuggling indicates lax border security which can be exploited for a variety of other purposes. This is a cause for concern given the sometimes acrimonious relationship between India and China.

 

Cross Border Smuggling on Rise In Indo-China Border (by Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times)

Smuggling of Tiger Skins Is Rife and Growing, Says Study (by Ed Stoddard, Reuters)

The Tiger’s Last Sigh (by Belinda Wright, Tehelka)

ITBP Suspends Two Officers Held in Smuggling Case (Hindustan Times)

Wood Smuggling: ITBP Officer Took Rs 6 lakh, Say Police (by Hemlata Verma, Indian Express)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Focus Primarily on Border Guarding

Despite being sanctioned as a border guarding force, ITBP has been repeatedly used for duties outside its scope, including counterinsurgency, infrastructure protection, and VIP protection. In the wake of the Kargil War, the Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by then Home Minister L K Advani, published a report in 2001 titled “Reforming the National Security System” that recommended that certain fundamental changes be implemented in order to make India more secure. One of the main recommendations for effective border management was to limit border guarding forces for border duty only. The report stated:

 

“Border Guarding Forces need to be distinguished from other CPMF and the Central Police Organizations because of their distinctive functions. It is imperative that the Border Guarding Forces are not deployed in the States to deal with internal disturbances, law and order duties and counter insurgency operation (author’s emphasis). Withdrawal of Border Guarding Forces for such duties limits their capabilities to guard the borders effectively. While there may be exceptional circumstances where it may be necessary to utilize the services of Border Guarding Forces for performing law and order/counter-insurgency duties, as a rule, these forces should not be withdrawn from the borders.”

 

ITBP’s duties, as described above, are wide and varied. Being deployed for counterinsurgency in areas affected by LWE or becoming a VIP protection agency takes away limited resources from the Indo-China border. The problems at the Indo-China border, described above, need requires the force’s full attention. The ITBP therefore should concentrate primarily on border protection duties and let other CMPFs, state police organizations, and specialized agencies handle internal security and counter insurgency operations.

 

India's Border Management: Select Documents (by Pushpa Das, Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis)

Border Management: Need for Reform (by Gurmeet Kanwal, Rediff News)

Time to Merge Troops under Home Ministry (by Nitin Pai, Daily News & Analysis)

One Border, One Force - A Concept whose Time has Arrived (DefenceInfo.com)

Pentagon Warns India of Chinese Build-up (by Rajat Pandit, Times of India)

more
Debate:

ITBP’s Operational control under Ministry of Home Affairs or Ministry of Defense

The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defense, as a result of an overlap in their respective duties to protect India, often engage in turf battles. A major point of contention between the two forces has been the proper role of the Assam Rifles (AR) on the Indo-Myanmar border and the northeast. Recently however, a debate over the operational control of ITBP has manifested itself into a point of disagreement as well.

 

Operational Control of the Force Should be under the Army:

The Army believes that given the porous nature of the border, recent Chinese incursions into Indian territory, and China’s growing military power and buildup, the Army should be authorized operational control of ITBP for the required “cohesion, coordination, and synergy” to counter the threats. The Army first proposed operational control of ITBP in 2004-2005; however, it resulted in no action. A spike in incursions and Chinese build up in recent years has brought the issue to surface again. China allegedly breached the Line of Actual Control (LAC) over 280 times in 2008, and continued to do so in 2009, 2010, and 2011. A note passed to India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in September 2011 revealed that Chinese troops made 50 incursions in the last three months, sometimes as far as 7 km inside Indian territory. On March 16, 2012, Chinese helicopters violated Indian airspace in Himachal Pradesh. Defense Minister AK Antony in September 2011 alluded to the fact that “China is strengthening its capability on the border area.”

 

While ITBP patrols and guards the border, the Army is deployed to provide deeper cover. In the event of conflict, the Army is authorized operational control of ITBP. The Army believes that such an arrangement on this sensitive border does not result in effective utilization of all resources and would create command and control and communication difficulties.

 

In the Army Eye (by Chandrani Banerjee, Outlook)

Army Wants Operational Control of ITBP for Better Border Posture Against China (By Rajat Pandit, Times of India)

Dhumal Draws PM's Attention to Chinese Incursions (Zeenews.com)

Chinese Incursions, Now and Then (by Claude Apri, Indian Defense Review)

 

 

Operational Control of the Force Should be under the Ministry of Home Affairs:

This position is espoused by the Home Ministry. Home Ministry believes that placing ITBP under the operational control of the Army would result in a loss of morale among ITBP personnel by hinting that their efforts to secure such a difficult terrain have largely gone unnoticed. Senior ITBP officials are also reluctant to come under operational control and there have conflicts between Army and ITBP personnel before. Additionally, MEA disagrees with the army proposal as it believes that such a move will send a wrong signal to China who might respond by further arming its side of the border. The transfer of operational control would also mean a reduction in the power and reach of Home Affairs, a move that any bureaucracy would seek to avoid.

 

Indian Borders: Threats and Challenges (by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Border Darshan)

MHA, MoD Spar over 'Operational Control' of ITBP (by Deepak K Upreti, Deccan Herald)

Home Ministry to Oppose Army's Proposal on ITBP (Zeenews.com)

No Progress on Bringing ITBP under Army (Zeenews.com)

AK Antony Admits China Incursion (Daily News & Analysis)

more
Former Directors:

Shri Ranjit Sinha

Shri Ranjit Sinha served as director general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police from August 2011 until December 2012, when he took over the Central Bureau of Investigation. Sinha is a 1974 batch Bihar cadre IPS officer. He holds a master’s degree from Patna University, an M. Phil from the Indian Institute of Public Administration, and diploma in HR Management from Wollongong University.

 

He has previously served as the Additional Superintendent of Police at Ranchi and Superintendent of Police, Special Branch at Police Headquarters in Patna. He first came to central government as the deputy inspector general, Central Bureau of Investigation, Patna and later as the joint director (anti-corruption) and joint director (administration) in Delhi. He later joined the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as inspector general (operations) and inspector general (personnel) at CRPF Directorate General. He was later promoted to be the assistant director general of ITBP. Before serving as the director general of ITBP, he served as the director general of the Railway Protection Force.

more

Comments

Deepak Kumar Giri 5 years ago
EWS1023 RATNAKAR KHAND SOUTH CITY ,LUCKNOW

Leave a comment

Founded: 1962
Annual Budget: Rs. 2432.75 crore ($475 million)
Employees: 45,000
Official Website: http://itbpolice.nic.in/
Indo-Tibetan Border Police
  • Latest News