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BSF to be pulled out from Kashmir
Ajay Kaul in New Delhi |
October 15, 2003 09:49 IST
The Border Security Force will be phased out from counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir from next month.
The Central Reserve Police Force will replace them. The BSF was inducted into the campaign 14 years ago.
No specific dates have yet been finalised for the transition, high-level official sources told PTI on Wednesday.
The BSF will pull out eight of its 52 battalions from Srinagar in the initial stage to be replaced by the same number of CRPF battalions.
Prior to the pull out, the BSF will work with the CRPF battalions to be inducted for about a month to ensure a smooth changeover, sources said.
The eight battalions of CRPF earmarked for replacing BSF have been given special 45-day training by army, sources said.
After their induction, more CRPF battalions will be readied for replacing the BSF in a phased manner, they added.
Confirming the move, BSF Director General Ajai Raj Sharma said the force was awaiting government's orders regarding dates for pullout.
The transition is being carried out on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up after Kargil intrusions to suggest measures to strengthen the country's security system.
The GoM had suggested that each force be deployed for the duties it had been created for. In this context, it said that BSF was created for guarding borders and it be sent back to the frontiers.
Sharma said the pull out will help the BSF 'strengthen the country's eastern and western borders' as more personnel would be available for deployment.
He favoured limiting the force's role to guarding frontiers, stating that challenges of 'external threats' posed by Pakistan-backed terrorism should be met at the border itself.
He said because of deployment of the BSF for internal security duties, its manpower availability for the borders was reduced considerably leaving gaps on the frontiers, which allowed infiltration.
"By deploying more personnel on the borders, infiltration of terrorists can be met more effectively," the BSF chief said.