Amid growing concerns over the Chinese military buildup along the eastern flank of the country, the government has ordered moving a strategic ITBP command from its current base in Chandigarh by over 960 km to the border of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.
The North West (NW) frontier of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), tasked to guard the 3,488-km long Sino-India border in peace times, is headed by an Inspector General (IG) of a police-rank officer, which is equivalent to a Major General rank in the Army. The frontier has been ordered to move ‘lock, stock, and barrel’ by March-end and will have to be operationalised at the new location from April 1.
Leh, till now, had an ITBP sector establishment headed by a DIG-rank officer. The about-90,000-strong force not only guards the scenic Pangong lake in this area but also the upper reaches of the Himalayan mountain ranges that run across China.
As a part of its efforts to strengthen the military muscle along the China border, the government had similarly moved the North East (NE) frontier of the ITBP from Shillong in Meghalaya to Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh in 2016.
Both the Arunachal Pradesh and the Leh regions have seen frequent incidents of incursions, standoffs and few instances of physical pushing and shoving between the troops of the Chinese PLA and the ITBP and the Army personnel over the last few years.