The government has sanctioned 12 new SSB battalions, comprising over 13,000 personnel for the Nepal and Bhutan borders guarding force, to “fortify” defences along these fronts, including the tri-junction area in Sikkim, officials said. PTI
he Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has given its in-principle approval for 12 Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) units, comprising over 13,000 personnel in all, to tighten security at India’s borders with Bhutan and Nepal.
SSB Director General (DG) Kumar Rajesh Chandra told India Today TV, “Over 1,000 personnel in each battalion will be inducted in a phased manner, with a target of raising four battalions each year.”
“Meanwhile 10,139 constables, who were inducted in 2019, are now ready to be deployed after the training,” he said.
The SSB has 90,000 personnel to guard the open Indian fronts with Nepal (1,751 km) and Bhutan (699 km). The additional strength will aid in the "fortification" of defences along these fronts including the tri-junction in Sikkim that adjoins Bhutan and Tibet.
The MHA has also given sanction to Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to raise seven battalions, at the Indo-China border comprising 10,000 soldiers, bringing up the strength of nearly 90,000 troops to around one lakh.
The budget will include expenses of Rs 50,000 for a month per soldier with salary components included.
While the SSB is guarding near Doklam with its deployment at the tri-junction at Batang La, the border goes north-northeast to Assam, officials said, the place of sensitivities are never left open.
The SSB chief added that the government has also sanctioned a total of 548 posts to the force for deployment at four ICPs (integrated check posts) along the Nepal border out of which two are operational at Jogbani and Raxaul (both in Bihar).
The militaries of India and China had witnessed an over 70-day standoff in the Doklam at the tri-junction in 2017.The new manpower will also help the SSB, as per the proposal, in upgrading the border posts at "strategically important" locations along the two fronts and providing armed security to the eight integrated check posts along these fronts.