'Shifting Assam Rifles' ops control to HM will impact vigil along China border'
New Delhi: The Army has voiced concern over a proposal by the Home Ministry to bring the Assam Rifles under its operational control, saying such a move will seriously jeopardise surveillance over the country's sensitive border with China when it has been ramping up military infrastructure along the frontiers with India.
Top military sources said concerned over the proposal; the Army has actively taken up the issue with the Defence Ministry last week urging it to immediately intervene in the matter considering possible national security implications if operational control of the nearly 185 years old Assam Rifles was handed over to the Home Ministry.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to examine the Home Ministry's move to merge the Assam Rifles with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and bring overall operational control under it.
Sources said the Army's views on the matter have already been conveyed to the top defence and security brass of the government.
The nearly 55,000 strong Assam Rifles has been guarding India's 1,640-km long border with Myanmar besides providing operational and logistics support to the Army in keeping a strict vigil in several critical sectors along the Sino-India boundary in Arunachal Pradesh. The Assam Rifles has also been carrying out counter-insurgency operations in militancy-infested states in the North-Eastern region.
At present, the Home Ministry has the administrative authority over the Assam Rifles while the Army has its operational control.
The sources said the Home Ministry has already prepared a draft note to be presented at the CCS seeking total control of the Assam Rifles.
They said the Assam Rifles provides significant assistance to the Army in keeping strict surveillance over the border with China as it frees up Army units from "static defensive" role. Moreover, 70-80 per cent personnel of the Assam Rifles are deployed in conventional military roles. With PTI inputs
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