SOURCE: INDIA TODAY
With no end to the India-China standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh insight, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is preparing to raise seven new battalions comprising 10,000 soldiers, bringing up the strength of nearly 90,000 troops to around 1 lakh.
While the Union home ministry has already given the go-ahead for this, the cabinet nod is still awaited. Sources in the security grid have told India Today TV that close to 10,000 new personnel will be inducted in the ITBP to guard the sensitive northern borders.
The ITBP is deployed over India and China boundary that stretches over 3,488 km from the Karakoram in Ladakh to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh. Induction of more troops will only mean further fortification of borders.
An officer privy to this development said, “With the LAC becoming the new LoC, the need of the hour is to fortify further for long standoffs with the Chinese.
The move comes amid news of fresh intrusions into India in the Chanthang area of Ladakh. A video of locals protesting against the Chinese troops went viral on Sunday. The video shows locals prevailing over the Chinese, forcing them to move back. The incident took place in the Doletango area. The intelligence officials confirm the area has seen such instances in the past as well.
The Rebo Nomads of around 20 had set up 8-10 tents; it is suspected that Chinese PLA came dressed as civilians. Barring 2019, when Nomads did not put up their tents, such incidents have been a regular occurrence. But India is preparing for the long haul.
Analysts say, with Chinese forces being beefed up on the other side of the LAC, India cannot afford to lower guard and the addition of troops is to plug the gaps.
The real challenge for the forces guarding the LAC will be to prevent any Chinese incursions after the winter gets over and snow melts. The preparations for such a scenario are underway.
However, an officer from the force said even after the clearance, ITBP would take at least a year to induct force personnel. This will require budget allocation, and constables recruited through Staff Selection Commission require a 44-46 week training period.