GREATER NOIDA: The ITBP today showcased its maiden mechanised column of power vehicles and machines, along with its agile PARA commandos, aimed at speedy mobilisation of troops along the Sino-India border.
The mountain warfare-trained force unveiled a fleet of its newly-acquired military trucks, sports utility vehicles (SUVs), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snow scooters, bikes, mobile communication wing, excavators and a few other medium- lift four-wheeled vehicles during its 56th Raising Day celebrations at its base here.
A contingent of special PARA commandos, sporting maroon berets, also marched down the track for the first time.
The commandos have been trained in night jump and other special combat skills.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the chief guest at the event, took salute from the contingent, raised for the first time in the over 50 years history of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The force was raised this day in 1962 in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression.
The decision to raise such a military-style combat wing in the paramilitary force was taken after the Union home ministry recently approved the deployment of snow scooters at all high-altitude border outposts of the ITBP along the 3,488 -km frontier it guards.
PTI had first reported that the mechanised column of the force would comprise over 250 SUVs, ATVs, snow scooters, excavators and other vehicles.
While the Army has the mechanised infantry, it was essential to have a mechanised column in the border guarding force as it secures this border in peace times and will bear the first onslaught in case of a war or a conflict, officials had said, explaining the rationale for the latest move.
Till now, only the Border Security Force (BSF) under the home ministry, that guards the Indo-Pak border, had an artillery unit and some mechanised components to aid it.
The about 90,000-personnel ITBP has been given sanctions by the government to procure about 150 SUVs for high-altitude deployment, out of which it has already deployed about five dozens, half-a-dozen snow scooters and a few excavators to clear snow-bound passes and landslide-prone border tracks.
A senior ITBP official had said many more such vehicles and machines, including anti-skid ATVs, would be procured by the force in the next few months.
The force has about 30 border posts above the height of 15,000 feet and some 50 such posts above 12,000 feet and the home ministry has accorded sanctions to the ITBP to have at least one snow scooter at each of these frontier bases.
The force has also been given sanctions to upgrade its firepower by modernising the support weapons such as 81mm mortars, the ITBP official had said.
The defence ministry had also recently decided to significantly enhance infrastructure along this border including around the areas of dispute with the Chinese forces.
The decision was taken at the Army's commanders conference which extensively deliberated on the Dokalam face- off with China, besides analysing all possible security challenges on the northern border.
The ITBP, as part of bolstering its capabilities to effectively secure this border, had last year procured over six dozen SUVs and sent them to far-flung border areas for patrol and transportation of troops and had procured five snow scooters early this year.