Over 6,000 positions are lying vacant in the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the primary force deployed along the 3,488 km China border, according to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) submission before a Parliamentary panel. In 2014, after the Modi government came to power, the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh on October 23, 2014, announced that 54 new border outposts had been sanctioned along the China border. The new BOPs would have required an additional 12 battalions or approximately 12,000 personnel. Mr. Singh again announced at the ITBP raising day parade in 2017 that 50 new posts had been sanctioned.
A senior government official said the 54 BOPs, meant primarily for Arunachal Pradesh, were yet to come up. However, on October 23 last year, Minister of State for Home, G. Kishan Reddy said that “since (the year) 2014, 23 new BOPs have been constructed” along the China border.
There are five pockets, three in Ladakh, one each in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh that are not well defined and the territories along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) are claimed by both China and India. Raised with four battalions in the aftermath of the Indo-China war in 1962, presently, ITBP comprises 60 battalions. It is deployed at 180 border outposts from the Karakoram Pass in the northwest to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh. The BOPs are located up to an altitude of 18,900 ft. and most forward posts remain cut-off from land routes.
According to a Parliamentary Standing Committee report tabled in the Rajya Sabha on March 3, the sanctioned strength of ITBP is 89,567. As on January 1, the total number of ITBP personnel stood at 83,337, the report said. Overall, there were a total of 1,03,367, that is, 11% vacancies in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) comprising ITBP, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Assam Rifles.
In the ITBP, as many as 6,230 positions or 7% posts are vacant. ITBP Director General S. S. Deswal told a press conference on October 23 last year that recruitment of 12 posts filling up 842 vacancies has been completed in the last nine months and 7,535 personnel were recruited in different A, B and C categories. “The recruitments were done mostly against retirements, voluntary retirements, deaths etc. The force as such has not expanded in all these years,” explained the official. The official added that the last time ITBP raised 13 new battalions was in the year 2011 and before that, 20 new battalions were raised in 2007.