‘Home ministry decides force to guard peaceful border’

    By IANS,

    Nongkrem (Meghalaya) : It is the prerogative of the home ministry to decide which force will guard the unfenced India-Myanmar border, Assam Rifles chief Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh said here Sunday.

    “Yes, there has been a proposal on this (to relieve Assam Rifles from guarding the India-Myanmar border), but this will still take time,” Singh told journalists on the sidelines of the Assam Rifles Governor’s Cup at the paramilitary force’s headquarters here in Meghalaya.

    “It is the prerogative of the home ministry to decide which force to guard the international border. And also you must remember that all peaceful borders are supposed to be guarded by the home ministry (central paramilitary forces),” the Assam Rifles chief added.

    There has always been a school of thought that the Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force in the country, should be relieved of its border guarding responsibilities and allowed to concentrate solely on counter-insurgency operations.

    Assam Rifles has the twin responsibility of guarding the 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border and also conducting counter-insurgency operations.

    As of now, the ministry has mandated the Border Security Force to guard the India-Bangladesh border in the region.

    The Indo-Tibetan Border Police is responsible for guarding the India-China border, while the Sashastra Seema Bal guards the India-Bhutan border.

    Earlier this month, BSF Additional Director General in-charge Operations K.K. Sharma made an aerial survey of the India-Myanmar to finalise plans to post its men there.

    “Our officer had seen the border. We are drawing our blue-print and the same will be place to the ministry of home affairs and thereafter the cabinet committee on security will take a final decision,” a senior BSF official told IANS by phone from New Delhi.

    “Although, the ministry of home affairs had agreed in principle to replace the Assam Rifles with BSF to guard the Myanmar border, but this will take some time as we would require infrastructure and most importantly manpower to guard that border,” the BSF official said.

    The Assam Rifles has 46 battalions, 15 of which are deployed along the India-Myanmar border.

    The unfenced, porous border with its rugged terrain is used by Indian insurgent groups to slip in and out of the country. Forest and animal products are also smuggled through this route in and out of India.