The government is considering building 50 more Indo-Tibetan Border Police posts along the India-China border and using technology to ensure a round-the-year temperature of 20 degrees Celsius in all its high-altitude bases, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.
Addressing jawans and officers of the ITBP during its 56th Raising Day celebrations in Greater Noida, Singh announced a slew of measures to bolster its capabilities.
These include construction of 25 border roads in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh; special lightweight winter clothing for troops deployed above 9,000 feet and an enhanced fleet of snow scooters to patrol the high-altitude areas of the 3,488-km-long Sino-Indian frontier.
"We are committed to enhancing your operational and infrastructure capabilities. Recently, we got a proposal to build 50 new border posts for the force and we are working on it," the home minister said.
There are 176 border posts along the India-China border at present.
He said the government is considering using technology to ensure a temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius is maintained in all high-altitude ITBP posts that bear the brunt of snow blizzards and sub-zero climate.
A senior officer said the move is aimed at ensuring that forward border posts are not abandoned during extreme snow and cold.
"We have created a model border post in Ladakh where a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius can be maintained. We will create more such BoPs in Sikkim and the eastern sector of this border," he said.
Singh said he was not satisfied with housing and infrastructure facilities available with the 1962-raised force and he was "seriously" working to improve these areas.
The minister said 35 old border posts of the force in very high-altitude areas are being upgraded as "composite" units.
"We are working to enhance road, mobile and satellite connectivity in the border areas for the ITBP," he said.
The minister asked ITBP troops to ensure and build good relations with border dwellers as they are "strategic assets" of the country and important stakeholders in keeping the borders safe.
Keeping in mind the frequent face offs between the Indian and Chinese troops, ITBP personnel are now learning Chinese during their basic training, he said.
Lauding the force, Singh asked ITBP officers to take responsibility of at least one family of personnel killed in the line of duty.
The ministry is also working to help jawans who have suffered 50 per cent disability during operations through the Bharat Ke Veer benevolent fund, he said.
ITBP Director General R K Pachnanda said the force has been nominated as the "nodal agency" for obtaining and channelising satellite communication for all border-guarding forces in the country.
He said the home ministry has also approved the ITBP's proposal to hire helicopters for high-altitude border posts.
The paramilitary was also enhancing its intelligence setup, he added.