In view of Chinese incursions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the Indian Army has reportedly demanded the operational command of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) which patrols that region.
The army has raised this demand as the Chinese incursions have been blamed to “intelligence and command failure”, according to a report in The Telegraph.
The ITBP reports to the Home Ministry and it has been entrusted with the responsibility of patrolling India-China border. The ITBP guards the 3,488km China frontier which passes along Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The 90,000-strong paramilitary force was raised on October 24, 1962, specifically for guarding the Chinese frontier after the India-China war.
The report quoted a home ministry official as saying that the Indian Army has made this demand saying “the paramilitary force was not sufficiently equipped to meet the challenges posed by the Chinese troops at the disputed frontier.”
“The army feels it should have the command of the ITBP to ensure better patrolling along the LAC especially at sensitive areas which have witnessed transgression and face-off in the past,” the report quoted a defence ministry official as saying.
However, the Home Ministry has pointed out that paramilitary forces guard the borders globally and the army remains behind the first line of defence. A Home Ministry official reminded then even on the Chinese side, the People’s Armed Police, also a paramilitary force, guards the border while the People’s Liberation Army is stationed behind this first line of defence.
Meanwhile, The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on Thursday issued an order for setting up two command headquarters in Chandigarh and Guwahati.
The Chandigarh headquarters will be headed by IG rank official who will work as Additional Director General (ADG) and look after Ladakh, Leh and Srinagar areas while the Guwahati sector will look after the north-eastern parts.