Govt mulls 50 new ITBP posts along China border, troops to learn Chinese

NEW DELHI: Union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday the MHA is considering the proposal to build 50 more border outposts at the India-China Border.

The minister said work is going on at a
fast pace on 25 roads+
in Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to connect the border outposts.

“Arrangements are being made to make sure that every ITBP jawan/officer knows basic Mandarin language at training level so that they don’t face language issues at the border during face-offs with PLA,” he said.

He also said a model border post is being constructed at Ladakh and if it is successful, the same model will be implemented at all BoPs.

The ministry of home affairs has made Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) the nodal force for use of G-SAT communication and surveillance satellites for monitoring Indian borders from the sky.

The approval of providing a dedicated satellite bandwidth to border security forces will allow BSF, which guards borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, SSB – which guards Indo-Nepal border and ITBP itself, which guards border with China, to have better communication network even at high altitude or remote border outposts and also scan suspected activities at the border through the satellite.

Speaking at ITBP raising day on Tuesday, DG R K Pachnanda said, “We are thankful to MHA for making ITBP the nodal agency for GSAT Centre”.

Sources say that recent standoff with China at Doklam forced the government to consider giving satellite bandwidth to security forces at the border for real time monitoring.

TOI had first reported in September first week+
that the government was considering dedicated satellite bandwidth to enable border guarding forces to monitor the movement of Pakistani and Chinese troops in real time, track terrorist infiltration, map terrain and communicate effectively in remote areas, besides assessing the strength of soldiers and artillery deployed by neighbours near the border in case of a stand-off.

Sources say that several rounds of meetings had taken place in MHA alongwith BSF, ITBP, SSB and Isro officials, during which it was discussed whether a single satellite would be enough to monitor activities on the borders or if each force needed to be provided a dedicated satellite bandwidth.

It was felt that command, control, communication, surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance abilities of border security forces — the first line of border defence — needed to be made impregnable, they said. The proposal is in the initial stages, but sources said the government was serious about it.

An officer said, “Satellites can play an important role in border management, and India has some of the best ones in Asia. While defence forces already use space technology, border forces depend on intelligence shared by central agencies like IB, RAW and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). They also faced poor communication issues in areas like Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Kashmir Valley. With satellite technology for real-time information, future incidents can be better dealt with.”

India shares over 15,000 km of borders with Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. The armed forces currently use 13 Isro satellites to watch land and maritime boundaries.

The Navy has a dedicated military satellite, G-sat 7 or “Rukmini” which monitors the Indian Ocean Region as it has a nearly 2,000 nautical mile “footprint”.

The Cartosat-2 series advanced remote sensing satellite, launched on June 23, has added teeth to India’s military surveillance capabilities as its high-resolution PAN camera can cover a swathe of 9.6 km and its spatial resolution is less than one metre.

The MHA is also providing border forces with modern electronic surveillance equipment like night-vision devices, thermal imagers, battlefield surveillance radars, direction finders, unattended ground sensors and high-powered telescopes.

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