ITBP raises maiden mechanised column: 

ITBP raises maiden mechanised column

Context:

ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) is deploying a mechanised column of power vehicles and machines to speedily mobilise troops along the India-China border in case of Doklam-like standoffs

Introduction:

  • The defence ministry had recently decided to significantly enhance infrastructure along this border including around the areas of dispute with the Chinese forces.
  • The mechanised column of the force will comprise over 250 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snow scooters, excavators and few other medium-lift four-wheeled vehicles.
  • The force has about 30 border posts above the height of 15,000 feet and some 50 posts above 12,000 feet.
  • 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 modernizing the support weapons like 81mm mortars.
  • Through this move government has decided to strengthen the assets and strength of the both the army and the ITBP.

Why  was this decision taken?

  • It is essential to have a mechanized column in the ITBP as it secures the border in peacetime and will bear the first onslaught in case of a war or a conflict.
  • Presently, only the Border Security Force that guards the India-Pakistan border had an artillery unit and some mechanized components to aid it.
  • The Army has the mechanized infantry, it is essential to have a mechanized column in the ITBP.
  • Because the ITBP secures the border in peacetime and will bear the first onslaught in case of a war or a conflict.

What is Mechanized infantry?

  • Mechanized infantry are infantry equipped with armored personnel carriers (APCs) or infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for transport and combat.
  • Mechanized infantry is distinguished from motorized infantry in that its vehicles provide a degree of protection from hostile fire, as opposed to “soft-skinned” wheeled vehicles (trucks or jeeps) for motorized infantry
  • Most APCs and IFVs are fully tracked or are all-wheel drive vehicles (6×6 or 8×8), for mobility across rough ground.
  • Some nations distinguish between mechanized and armored infantry, designating troops carried by APCs as mechanized and those in IFVs as armored

ITBP (The Indo Tibetan Border Police):

  • ITBP was conceived on Oct 24, 1962.
  • It is a multi-directional force.
  • Presently the battalion of ITBP deployed on border guarding duties from Karakoram Pass in Ladak to Jachep la in Arunachal Pradesh.

What problems ITBP is facing?

  • In areas like Arunachal Pradesh where there poor road connectivity, it can take several days of walking to reach the outposts and weeks to comprehensively patrol borders.
  • ITBP works under harsh conditions, working conditions of force personnel is biting cold of the Himalayas and relentless forests of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • ITBP does not have its own intelligence setup so essential in operation situations.
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