- The Home Minister announced a slew of measures to bolster the capabilities of the ITBP, whose 90,000 soldiers guard the 3,488-km-long border with China.
- The troops deployed above 9,000 feet will be provided special lightweight uniform and an enhanced fleet of snow scooters to patrol the high-altitude zones.
- The government is also considering using technology to maintain a temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius in all high-altitude ITBP posts that have to battle sub-zero climate and snow blizzards. The move will ensure that forward border posts are not abandoned during extreme snow and cold.
- A model post has already been created in Ladakh and efforts are on to establish more such posts in Sikkim and the eastern sector of the border.
- All ITBP officers are expected to learn basic Mandarin (Chinese) to bridge the language gap, the home minister said. The need to train the troops in languages like Tibetan spoken along the border was felt during the 70-day Doklam standoff, which saw Indian and Chinese soldiers stare down each other at the border in Sikkim.
- There are 176 border posts along the Sino-Indian frontier. The Home Minister today announced 50 more posts to "enhance operational and infrastructure capabilities". "We are working on the proposal," he said.
- The housing and infrastructure facilities available to the force aren't satisfactory, Mr Singh said, and he was "seriously" working to improve these areas. About 35 old border posts in very high-altitude areas are being upgraded as "composite" units.
- Road, mobile and satellite connectivity in the border areas will also be enhanced to keep the borders safe. Twenty five border roads in hilly states of Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh will be laid and the ministry has also approved the ITBP's proposal to hire helicopters for high-altitude border posts.
- The paramilitary force was also upgrading its intelligence setup. ITBP Director General RK 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.
- The Home Minister also encouraged ITBP troops to build "good relations" with border dwellers as they are "strategic assets" of the country. He also asked the officers to adopt at least one family of personnel killed in the line of duty. The ministry will also provide help to jawans who have suffered 50 per cent disability during operations through the Bharat Ke Veer benevolent fund, he said.
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