The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is an Indian force conceived on October 24, 1962 for security along the India's border with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, border covering 2115 kilometres. It is one of the Central Armed Police Forces. The first Director General of the ITBP was Late Sardar Balbir Singh. This was also his brain child along with his colleagues.
Only four battalions were sanctioned to begin with, to fill up the security vacuum that was prevalent at that time on the Indo-Tibetan border. Later in view of the additional responsibilities and the task redefined in 1976, the Force was restructured in 1978. The ITBP is trained in Civil Medical Camp, disaster management, and nuclear, biological and chemical disasters. ITBP personnel have been deployed abroad in UN peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Western Sahara, Sudan, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
ITBP is a multi-dimensional force which primarily has 5 functions-
- Vigil on the northern borders, detection and prevention of border violations, and promotion of the sense of security among the local populace.
- Check illegal immigration and trans-border smuggling .
- Provide security to sensitive installations and threatened VIPs.
- Restore and preserve order in any area in the event of disturbance.
- to maintain the peace in the country.
Presently, Battalions of ITBP are deployed on Border Guarding Duties from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Diphu La in Arunachal Pradesh, covering 3488 km of the India-China Border. Manned border posts are at altitudes as high as 21000’ in the Western, Middle & Eastern Sector of the border. ITBP is a mountain trained force and most of the officers & men are professionally trained mountaineers and skiers. The force is under an expansion plan in order to provide relief to its troops from constant deployment in high altitude areas under dynamic and professional leadership of Sh Ranjit Sinha, IPS.
- The border posts manned by ITBP are exposed to high velocity storms, snow blizzards, avalanches, and landslides, besides the hazards of high altitude and extreme cold, where temperature dips up to minus 40 degree Celsius. ITBP conducts Long Range and Short Range patrols to keep an effective vigil on inaccessible and unmanned areas on the border.
- The ITBP has recently taken on a disaster management role. Being the first responder for natural Disaster in Himalayas, ITBP was the first to establish 06 ( Now 08) Regional Response Centres in HP, Uttaranchal and North East and carried out numerous rescue and relief operations in various disaster situations, which took place in our areas of responsibility as well as other parts of the country. ITBP has already trained 1032 personnel in Disaster Management including 98 personnel in Radiological and Chemical and Biological emergencies.
- ITBP has established a National Centre for Training in Search, Rescue & Disaster response at Bhanu, Haryana which is imparting training to personnel of ITBP and other Paramilitary / State Police Forces. There is also a training centre for the Dogs at Basic Training centre situated at Bhanu. The centre is known as NICD.
- ITBP Commando units provide security to the Embassy and consulates of India in Afghanistan. Besides this two Companies of the ITBP are providing security in Afghanistan.
- 1 coy of ITBP is deployed in United Nation Mission in Congo since November, 2005. A National Centre for UNCIVPOL training has been set up at ITBP Camp, Tigri, Khanpur, Delhi for providing systematic training to Indian Police Officers for deployment in UN Mission.
- ITBP is also providing security to the pilgrims during Annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from 1981. ITBP provides communication, security and medical cover to the yatries from Gunji to Lipulekh Pass and back to Gunji in co-ordination with MEA and Kumaon Mandal vikas Nigam.
ITBP's major training centre is located at Mussoorie, in Utarakhand. The Training Academy has been established in 1976, and imparts training to Officers, Subordinate officers, and promotional course. Specialised training programes in rock craft, explosives handling etc. are also conducted here.Ace mountaineer and Padm shri awardee, Sh Harbhajan Singh, IG heads this institution. Keeping in view the evolving security scenario of the country, ITBP has established a Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at an altitude of 6000 feet in the heart of extremely tough Himalayan mountains, at Mahidanda in Uttarkashi district, under dynamic vision of the then DG of the Force Sh Vikram Srivasatava, IPS. He provided top rated leadership to the force. The CIJW school provides state of the art training to ITBP's men and officers to enable them to take on the 21st century's security challenges in the form of anti Naxal Ops. Jungle warfare, handling of explosives, rock craft, survival in adverse conditions, unarmed combat, and guerrilla warfare are some of the subjects trained here. The training regime, formulated under close supervision of Sh Rajiv Mehta, IPS and executed on ground by Sanjeev Raina, DIG is extremely demanding both mentally and physically, needing special preparation. The presence of the force along the Indo China border, maintains vigil along the extremely difficult high altitude border area. The troops of the force keeps a sharp eye on any violation of the border, trans border smuggling, and affords a sense of security to the remotely located isolated settlements. The altitude where the troops are deployed range up to 18800 feet, and the temperature plummets to minus 30 degrees during winter with snow fall of more than ten feet. The force is synonymous with adventure and dare-devilry and has undertaken numerous mountaineering expeditions. Its skiers have been national champions, who have done India proud in the winter Olympics. Its river rafters have created international history in rafting through the turbulent white waters of the mighty Brahmaputra, the Indus and the Ganges. The Force has created a milestone by becoming the first Central Para Military Force to grab up the Best Marching Contingent Trophy in the Republic Day parades in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2011. It broke new ground in 1998 when it sent the first ever police tableau of the country to participate in the Republic Day Parade. ITBP is in the forefront of movement for the preservation of Himalayan environment and ecology. ITBP has taken up in a big way the task of greening the Himalayan regions especially in Inner Himalayas. Being the only human presence in areas close to China border, it has taken on itself the task of maintaining the delicate balance of flora and fauna. ITBP being deployed in mountains has developed the expertise in rescue & relief operations in mountains, which entail different specialized skills of very high standard. It is always first in extending rescue & relief in case of natural calamity. ITBP conducts a large number of civic action programmes in remote border and terrorist affected areas to provide free and expert medical, health and hygiene care to the civilian population in remote villages. ITBP Academy has been given the status of ‘Centre of Excellence’ by the Government of India and now is on the path of modernization of its training infra- structure. Till June 2004, the Academy has trained 3785 GOs, 7776 SOs and 27476 Other Ranks from ITBP and CPOs/ State Police Forces.
The Indo Tibetan Border Police Force organised a Half Marathon named as “ITBP-run for the nation”, which was held at New Delhi on 7th Oct. 2012 om J.L.N. Stadium to Rajpath- Janpath and back to J.N.L. Stadium. Over 10000 participants ran in this mega event, which was first of its kind in the history of CAPFs in the country. Super Star Mr. Salman Khan flagged off this mega event. He also made an appeal to countrymen to run for the nation.
ITBP training centres develop and inculcate thoroughly amongst the trainees the qualities of: Professional skills, esprit de corps,leadership. They are taught the values of integrity, impartiality and respect for all castes, creeds and religions . Maintaining the highest tradition of supreme sacrifice in the service of motherland the valiant Himveers are also taught to function effectively while always keeping in mind human rights and the codes of war which always guide their conduct.
So as to make them a formidable force in maintaining the security & territorial integrity of India The Basic Training Centre at Bhanu, ITBP Academy at Mussourie, and the Mountaineering & Skiing Institute at Auli run the training programmes and conduct indoor and outdoor training activities, in pursuance of this mission The motto of the ITBP, Shaurya, dridata, karm nishtha (Valour, determination, devotion to duty) has always inspired its men in accepting challenges to bring glory to the nation and honour to the force. In the course of active duties, the force has earned a number of Civil and Service honours, and decorations like Padma Shree – 2, Shaurya Chakra – 1, Sena Medal – 1, President's Police Medal for Gallantry – 3, Police Medal for Gallantry – 44, President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service – 63, Police Medal for Meritorious Service – 292 and the Prime Minister's Life Saving Medal – 54.
ITBP has undergone a massive expansion plan to provide much needed relief to its troops who remain deployed in the tough high altitude terrain for most part of their service. 13 units were raised in the year 2006–07, followed by another 7 units the following year.
ITBP is building full fledge recreation and Training centre In Belgaum at Halbhavi, Belgaum provides the best climate for recreation and ITBP will relocate the personal and will have large family bases in Belgaum for its soldiers after high altitude stressful duty.
- Assistant Commandant Ashok Kumar Rana was killed in 1998 at Chirwar, in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, in an encounter with Kashmiri insurgents.
- Deputy Commandant Joy Lal, was killed in a land mine blast.
- Inspector Raj Kumar was killed in 1997 in an encounter with Kashmiri insurgents at Wangam in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, and was posthumously decorated.
- Constable Suresh Kumar was killed in December 1994 in an encounter with Kashmiri insurgents in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, and was posthumously decorated.
- Constable Kishan Ram killed in March 1994 in an encounter with insurgents in District Anantnag in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, and was posthumously decorated.
- Three members of the ITBP were also killed in an attempt to climb Mount Everest during a severe storm in 1996.
- Ct Ajay Pathania and Roop Singh were killed when a suicide bomber attacked the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 7, 2008. Both the officers have been honoured with Kirti Chakra on 15 August 2008.
- 6 ITBP personnel were killed during rescue operations in flood hit Uttarakhand when the Mi-17V5 helicopter of IAF crashed due to bad weather.
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