The government has restored a crucial senior-level post in the Sino-India border guarding force ITBP after three years, a development seen as strengthening the paramilitary in the wake of frequent military stand-offs between the two sides. 1986-batch Indian Police Service officer R K Mishra today took over as the new additional director general (ADG) of the about 90,000 personnel strong force. The lone ADG post of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police was diverted to the NDRF in February, 2014 by the Union home ministry, under which the two forces function.
A senior official in the security establishment said the home ministry recently cleared an order for reverting the post to ITBP, a move, he said was taken keeping in the mind the “heavy occupation” of the paramilitary in its primary duty of border guarding along with other duties. Soon after this order, the ministry issued another directive appointing Mishra as the new ADG. “It was felt that the ADG office in ITBP is very important when it comes to the operational effectiveness of the force. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi had recently reviewed the working of the force and had assured that the post will soon be restored,” the official said.
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There were a number of transgressions along the Sino- India frontier in the last few years including some major ones at Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. While ITBP was not at the forefront of the recent tension between the border forces of the two sides in Sikkim, it had its operational presence in the area. The force, for the last few years, was seeking repatriation of the post which, it said, acted an important link when it came to operational efficiency and better productivity of the establishment that comprised over 70 active battalions.
The ITBP, raised in 1962 in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression, for the last three years had remained the only paramilitary force without an ADG-rank post. After the transfer of the post to the National Disaster Response Force, various responsibilities of the ITBP ADG had been distributed among the four Inspector General-rank officers who were deputed at the forces’ headquarters here. Mishra, who till recently was serving as the ADG in another paramilitary CISF, was expected to look after important subjects of operations and capacity building as the second-in-command of the ITBP Director General R K Pachnanda.
The officer (ADG Mishra), who is credited for leading a number of anti-Naxal operations in Jharkhand during his stint as IG of the CRPF, would soon travel to forward border posts of the ITBP as part of the familiarisation exercise. He, ITBP sources said, would also look after the training aspect of the troops deployed in high-altitude areas and recruitment of fresh personnel in the mountain-warfare trained paramilitary. The officer brings to ITBP his experience of supervising the training of over 18,000 fresh recruits during his recent stint in the Central Industrial Security Force. The ITBP, apart from guarding the 3,488-km long China border, was also tasked to render a variety of internal security duties in the country including undertaking anti- Naxal operations.