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Force Magazine

One Upmanship

The Chinese incursion at the LAC is not a good reason for the Indian Army to get ITBP under its command

By Dilip Kumar Mekala

One Upmanship
The ITBP soldiers in Ladakh

Ever since the border face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the Depsang Bulge at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in April 2013, the Indian Army has raised its pitch to acquire operational control of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP). But that one incident couldn’t have been the trigger, and it’s not correct to dismiss ITBP’s role in handling the situation. After all, the ITBP had followed all international protocols which ultimately led to the solution through diplomatic channels.

The Indian Army cannot be deployed along the forward posts at the LAC according to various UN conventions. So naturally when the Chinese troops entered the Indian territory close to the Burtse post in the Depsang Bulge, the ITBP was the first respondent. According to a source privy to the information, when the Chinese patrol team was observed coming close to the Burtse post, roughly around one-and-a-half or two kilometres away, the ITBP teams responded immediately. As per the standard operating procedures (SOP), the ITBP has to inform all the stakeholders in events such as this. Sources claimed that the information was indeed relayed to all the stakeholders like National Security Advisor (NSA), defence ministry, Indian Army and various intelligence agencies in real time. The ITBP boasts of its quick communication to as many as 11 agencies involved in resolving the stand-off.

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