Govt okays dedicated air support for ITBP at China border
Deeptiman Tiwary,TNN | Dec 6, 2014, 04.18 AM IST
NEW DELHI: Government has approved dedicated air support for ITBP to help the force take on superior infrastructure capabilities of China on the Sino-Indian border. Home ministry has approved and allocated funds for leasing of two choppers which will be under the exclusive command of ITBP for rescue- reconnaissance operations on the border.
Until now, the border force was dependent on Indian Air Force for air support to maintain its outposts and rescue the sick or injured from the inhospitable heights of Himalayas where it is posted through the year. For various reasons, IAF choppers are not always available to ITBP.
TOI was the first to report (on October 1) that home ministry was pushing for dedicated air support for the force following the Chumur-Dhemchok faceoff with Chinese army in September.
Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju told Parliament, "With a view to provide dedicated air support to Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the government has accorded approval to ITBP for wet leasing of two light helicopters to meet its operational air support requirements in J&K and Uttarakhand through tendering process. The total expenditure likely to be incurred for wet leasing of two helicopters is approximately Rs 40 crore per annum."
The minister added, "Besides, dedicated air support is provided to ITBP through BSF MI-17 helicopters as well as IAF helicopters based on the availability of helicopters to meet the operational requirement of the force on Indo-China border." ITBP maintains posts on the upper reaches going up to 18,000 feet.
Although the provision falls short of ITBP expectations of getting MI-17 specification choppers, the force is happy that its immediate needs would now not be slave to availability of IAF choppers. Also the choppers would help it conduct surveillance of the border.
The minister also informed the House about other infrastructure enhancing steps being taken by the government. This included opening up of 22 of 35 newly sanctioned border outposts for ITBP and expected operationalization of the rest by 2016. He also said the government had approved 123 mobile towers on the Sino-Indian border to improve connectivity and to help in border vigil.
"The critical infrastructure in the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh are also being strengthened to enhance troop's mobility and border security in those areas," the minister said.
Source : The Times of India (Inde)
Relayé par H.G