ITBP seeks more units in Ladakh to check Chinese transgressions
ITBP, which mans the 3,488 km border with China stretching from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, has moved the proposal for deployment of six battalions to plug gaps along the LAC, official sources said on Sunday.
While the proposal is under Home Ministry's consideration, the sources said, in-principle approval has been given to the force for raising eight additional battalions (about 8,000 personnel) to enable rest and recuperation of its men after working in harsh weather conditions on the icy frontier.
According to official estimates, an average ITBP jawan spends 80 per cent of his tenure in adverse climate and the remaining 20 <g data-gr-id="29">per cent</g> on guard duties of VVIPs and others.
Sources said the force wants to enhance its reserves in the Ladakh sector, above Leh, as it has some of the most challenging frontiers to guard along the 1,597-km border which Jammu and Kashmir shares with the country's eastern neighbour.
At present, ITBP has about seven battalions in this region which effectively means about 6,000 armed personnel at any point of time.
Officials said the force is also in the process of bolstering the number of its troops in each border post on this frontier as many of them are located at altitudes ranging between 9,000-18,500 feet amidst thin oxygen levels and a continuous threat of blizzards.
The approval, sources said, came after ITBP Director General Krishna Chaudhary led a team of his senior officials to make detailed presentations before the Ministry of Home Affairs following which Home Minister Rajnath Singh gave his nod.
ITBP sources said the required approvals for having <g data-gr-id="34">new</g> infrastructure for fresh units at Leh like barracks for jawans, armoury and administrative blocks for troops have also been granted.
"The force strength in Ladakh sector was required to be enhanced for the last few years as the border posts here are located in very far off and inhospitable areas and the <g data-gr-id="42">inter-border</g> post distance is large. More men will mean better border vigil," they said adding that it was a fact that maximum confrontation with Chinese troops has taken place in this sector.
As of now, they said, there is a lack of space to expand in Leh from where the troops climb up towards the mountain posts and hence ITBP troops had to stay as far as Samba in Jammu sector.
"This leads to problems in <g data-gr-id="49">acclimatisation</g> of the units and hence by having the required facilities in Leh, the troops can get accustomed to the rarefied atmosphere in good time," they said. The force, in order to ensure good rest and recuperation for its troops coming down from the icy heights of the Indo-China border, is also scouting for some new bases in the mainland.