New Delhi: Government has sanctioned nine new ‘floating’ border posts to the BSF in order to enhance vigil and security along India’s riverine borders along Pakistan and Bangladesh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday.
While six of the border posts, self-sustained troops and weapon carrying vessels, will be deployed along the Sunderbans area along the Indo-Bangladesh border, three similar floating platforms have been sanctioned for the Border Security Force along the shallow sea and marshy area of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
Officials said these new vessels would be made and procured from Indian ship and vessel making firms, hopefully, within this financial year.
The BSF is the mandated border guarding force for these two important Indian frontiers.
“We have to care about both land and coastal security. It is a fact that only a secure nation can progress and same is true for India.
“I have seen the BSF working very closely in these areas and I felt there was a dearth of floating BOPs (border out posts) here and hence we have sanctioned new ones,” Rajnath said while inaugurating BSF’s ‘Golden Jubilee’ seminar here.
At present there are about five such BSF vessels at both these border areas.
The one-day seminar, held to commemorate the forces’ 50 years of raising this year, is being held on the theme of “border management in India–challenges and options”.
The Home Minister also said that the government’s message that BSF will give a befitting reply to any unprovoked firing by Pakistan has gone down well in the country.
“India will never provoke conflict by being the first to open fire across the borders but will never back off. Our forces will give a befitting reply to shelling and gunfire from across the border,” he said in the context of continuous ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
He assured the BSF of government’s commitment to provide the force with latest weaponry and equipment as he lauded the personnel for undertaking welfare activities and developmental works for the people residing in the vicinity of the borders.
The Home Minister, who had recently visited the border areas, said he could get the feel as “how difficult and hard” the duties of the BSF men were.
“I could see that at times the jawans could not take bath for close to 24 hours and for sometime food was not available. But, I can say this with proud that they are doing their duty with utmost courage and dedication. I salute them,” he said.
Singh said the government also wants to enhance the socio-economic levels of the people living along the border areas as they have a strong “emotional attachment” with the country that they do not run away from the place of habitation even during trouble times.
“Since Independence, efforts have been made for them (border population). Funds are also given but much more needs to be done for them,” he said adding, “even in adversity” many people want to remain at their places only.
He expressed happiness that funds allocated during last fiscal for border area development have been utilised to the maximum.
“There will always be some fund crunch and I will keep trying to get more allocations. But the Finance Ministry also has some limits…we will have to understand that,” he said.
The Home Minister said he would favour more and more studies and research to be conducted on issues of border management as he assured BSF that their proposal to set up a new ‘institute of border management and strategic studies’ would be favourably looked into.
He also asked the country’s largest border guarding force to use modern technology in guarding Indian frontiers as it was not possible to totally secure them through human deployment.
Singh praised other forces like ITBP, Assam Rifles, Coast Guard and Army for securing Indian borders effectively.