The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) that guards open borders with Nepal and Bhutan, has been sanctioned its first ever intelligence wing with 650 field and staff agents to check the activities of "anti-India and other inimical forces".
The Union Home Ministry, a senior official said, has approved a proposal of the paramilitary force to raise and deploy an exclusive combat snoop wing for border guarding and internal security duties.
The SSB said in a statement:
In a big boost to the operational efficiency of the SSB, Union Ministry of Home Affairs has approved creation of 650 combatised posts for the intelligence set up of the force
The SSB mans the 1,751-km long India-Nepal and the 699-km long Indo-Bhutan borders.
The force will now train and depute its intelligence agents along the two frontier areas and with those units which are deployed for anti-Naxal operations in Jharkhand and Bihar. The official said, once the intelligence set up is activated on the ground, it will help keep the activities of "anti-India and other inimical forces" at these two open borders in effective check. The official said:
There are no restrictions on the movement of people on either side at these two borders. The area under SSB jurisdiction here comprises densely populated hills and plains, thick jungles and inhospitable terrain
The official added:
The task of ensuring effective border guarding becomes more challenging as the border population on both sides has strong regional, cultural and economic ties, especially in the case of Nepal
Also, the trans-border movement of criminals and anti-national elements pose a major challenge on the border which has a visa-free regime, he said.
The force, till now, used to rely on its non-combatised officials and regular troops units for this task at these two borders. The about 80,000 personnel strong force, raised in 1963 in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression, will have a new structure for intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination.
The new intelligence wing will be raised on the lines of the famed 'G' wing (General wing) of the Border Security Force (BSF), which has some of the major kills and operations to its credit in the Kashmir Valley and the Naxal-violence-hit states.
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