Recognising that there was a need to strengthen security along the international border in Nepal and Bhutan, the Centre has sanctioned over 9,000 assault rifles, 34 armoured vehicles and over 760 patrolling bikes to the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
SSB mans the 1,751-km-long Nepal border and 699-km-long Bhutan border.
The force, till now, used to rely on its non-combatised officials and regular troops for this task at these two borders.
But with the addition of these arms, ammunition and vehicles, the SSB will get a fillip in protesting these sensitive and porous borders.
The new vehicles and weapons, once procured, will be sent across to various border guarding formations and those deployed in the LWE hit areas and Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, SSB Director General Archana Ramasundaram, sent a proposal to the home ministry to raise close to 1,000 personnel as part of its maiden combatised intelligence network that it wants to deploy on these borders. The intelligence wing, once raised, will be deployed on both the borders that the force guards with a special impetus on activities along Nepal as heavy cross- border movement takes places across this frontier.
“There is no fencing on this (Nepal) border and there are different challenges here. We also have to keep the sensitivity of people in mind as the local population on both sides have relations and interactions across the border we guard,” Archana Ramasundaram, said.
The Nepal border is more prone to the movement of fake currency notes and so far the force has seized a total of 6.45 lakh such forged currencies after the government demonetised Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 on November 8.
The SSB will also keep a hawk’s eye on the presence of fundamentalist and anti-India forces in the areas in vicinity of the borders.
The force, raised in 1963 in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression, will have a new structure for intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination.
Notably, the SSB is also deployed to undertake anti-Naxal operations in Bihar and Jharkhand apart from rendering a variety of duties in the internal security domain.
The force has 67 battalions on ground at present (about 67,000 personnel) and in the next two years it will raise more such contingents to rise its number upto 73 battalions.