Home minister Rajnath Singh talked about India’s relations with China and Pakistan at the ITBP Raising Day
Sumit Kumar Verma
On October 24, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force celebrated its 53rd Raising Day at Surajpur, Greater Noida. A grand event, it saw the Union home minister Rajnath Singh gracing the occasion as the chief guest. Along with Subhas Goswami, Director General, ITBP, Singh took the salute at the parade.
Speaking on the occasion, the home minister talked about the pertinent issues facing the country today. He emphasized on India’s relation with China, stressing on the fact that peace with China couldn’t be achieved at the cost of national honour. Neither could it be attained by compromising on territorial integrity. He talked tough when he made it clear that infrastructural development on the Indian side of the Indo-China border was necessary for the Indian armed forces, and went on to announce Rs 175 crore package for development of infrastructure on the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.
Objecting to the unprovoked firing from the Pakistan border – even on Diwali there was firing – Singh warned that our neighbour should restrain from such activities. He said that such cease-fire violations are unacceptable and the forces would be forced to take appropriate retaliatory measures. He even pointed out that our eastern border is managed in a peaceful manner, thus making it clear that our western neighbour should also maintain calm and peace at the border.
The highlight of Singh’s speech was the announcement of 54 new border out posts (BOPs) which would be soon sanctioned by the ministry to fill the gaps at the border in Arunachal Pradesh.
The women contingent at the parade received praise from the home minister, who conferred two Police Medals for Gallantry, six President’s Police Medals for distinguished service, 24 Police Medals for Meritorious service and four Jeevan Raksha Padak.
In his address, Subhas Goswami, DG, ITBP, stressed the need for additional battalions because the shortfall affects the health of the men who are deployed at higher altitudes or posted for internal security duties.
Raised on 24 October 1962 in the wake of the Indo China War, ITBP is a specialised mountain force with professionally trained mountaineers and skiers to guard the Indian border with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Recently, the ITBP was in the news for their prompt response to relief and rescue mission during the Uttarakhand floods in 2013.
Earlier, speaking to the media during the annual press conference, Goswami said that the recent faceoff in Ladakh sector by Chinese soldiers during President Xi Jinping’s India visit was a rare incident. The reason being that it lasted a fortnight unlike the earlier events which did not last longer than 10-15 minutes. The DG refused to divulge any details or data regarding the number of skirmishes. All he admitted was that India shared a disputed border with China and faceoffs are only due to perceptional differences. He even denied having any information about the army replacing the ITBP in the Ladakh sector.
However, the topic which got him talking was the hi-tech surveillance camera installed in the Ladakh sector. He talked about its features in detail – it has a zooming capacity of about 20 kilometers – and added that they had requested the government for more such equipments.