India activates strategic ITBP command from J-K
New Delhi: India operationalised its strategic ITBP command in Jammu and Kashmir's Leh-Ladakh district on Monday after moving it from Chandigarh as part of a plan to counter the ever-increasing Chinese military buildup in the region.
The North West frontier of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), tasked to guard the 3,488-km long Sino-India border in peace times, is headed by an Inspector General (IG) of Police-rank officer, which is equivalent to a Major General in the Army. "We are operational from the Ladakh region beginning April 1 and the force headquarters in Delhi has been informed," ITBP IG Arvind Kumar told PTI from Leh.
The Indian tricolour and the force flag were unfurled to herald the new move and the frontier will be operating from the existing premises of the ITBP sector headquarter, another official said. Sanctions have been received to create more buildings and logistics for the new command and Director General (DG) S S Deswal, the force chief, is expected to visit the formation soon.
The PTI had first reported in January that the frontier has been ordered to move from its base in Chandigarh 'lock, stock, and barrel' to be operationalised at the new location from April 1. The distance between Chandigarh and Leh is 960 km.
Leh district in the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir is the base for the 14 Corps of the Army headed by a Lt General-rank officer and the new shift will allow a better interaction between the two forces "for strategic and defence planning", the official operations blueprint had said. The Army, which carved out a separate Corps in Leh after Jammu and Srinagar following the Kargil intrusion in 1999, has been demanding operational control over the ITBP.