Interview | Air Vice Marshal V S Bharti YSM VM VSM, IG (Air) Border Security Force

'A proposal for attaining self-regulatory status in the BSF Air Wing is in the process and under consideration at MHA'

Air Vice Marshal V S Bharti YSM VM VSM, IG (Air) Border Security Force

What are the roles and missions of the BSF Air Wing?

The India-Pakistan conflict of 1965 compelled the then leadership of the country to raise a dedicated federal force for securing the Indian border with Pakistan. The Border Security Force (BSF) was raised on 1 December 1965. To ensure speedy and prompt movement of the senior officers of the BSF and ministry of home affairs (MHA) at short notices all along the vast Indo-Pak border, a need was felt to have its own small aircraft. Interestingly, the concurrence for the BSF to have its own aircraft was given by the then Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Arjan Singh.

BSF Air wing was established in the year 1969 with purchase of one second-hand Queen Air aircraft for transportation of DG BSF and other senior dignitaries for visiting the border with Pakistan in the west and border with East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), which came under its jurisdiction.

In order to meet the air maintenance of border out posts (BoPs) which were not connected by road, the BSF purchased four Mi-4 helicopters in the year 1969-1970 and merged them with Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter fleet for BSF operations in the forward areas. Against the merger of assets, the IAF allotted a certain quantum of flying hours per month to the BSF.

The BSF Air Wing was expanded with induction of fleet of five second-hand Dakotas DC aircraft from erstwhile Indian Airlines on experimental basis to meet the exclusive requirements of its troops. Subsequently, in the interest of optimum utilisation and cost effectiveness, the scope of Air Wing was extended to encompass all the CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces).

The role of the BSF Air Wing was further extended to support the internal security duties involving movement of troops, recce, casualty evacuation and carrying out special missions. Air Wing later started weekly courier services for BSF/CAPFs troops to the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir as a much-needed relief to address their arduous travel.

The BSF Air Wing functions under the supervision of DG BSF and under overall control of MHA. Aircrew and technical crew for operating and maintaining these aircraft are employed directly as fresh employment/deputation-cum reemployment from state/central government and ex-servicemen from defence services as per the Recruitment Rules (RRs) and largely are on deputation from the IAF as per memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the ministry of defence and the ministry of home affairs.

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