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To avoid Doklam-like incident, 'alert' SSB to boost manpower, BoPs in Sikkim region

SSB is enhancing its strength and establishing new border posts in Sikkim along the Bhutan frontier, next to Doklam region.

Reported by: PTI, New Delhi [ Published on: December 20, 2017 20:00 IST ]
'alert' SSB to boost manpower, BoPs in Sikkim region
'alert' SSB to boost manpower, BoPs in Sikkim region

Border guarding force SSB today said it is "more alert", is enhancing its strength and establishing new border posts in Sikkim along the Bhutan frontier, next to Doklam region that recently saw a standoff between Indian and Chinese forces. 

The paramilitary force--tasked with guarding the 699 km-long open border with Bhutan--however, said its role is only "restricted" upto the Bhutan frontier and Doklam was along the Sino-India border which is the mandate of other security forces. 

"We are (deployed) just below the tri-junction (India-Bhutan-Tibet), on the southern part of it," SSB Director General (DG) Rajni Kant Mishra told reporters here on the occasion of the forces' 54th Raising Day. 

"On the Bhutan border, in Sikkim, we are more alert and there is going to be a slightly increased strength on that border. We are going to get some BoPs (border outposts) and a battalion headquarter is also coming up there," Mishra said.

He was asked about the Sashastra Seema Bal's (SSB) preparations in view of the 73 day-long military standoff between the India and China in Doklam in last summer.

Mishra added that the location and land for the new BoP that will come up in Yuksom in Sikkim was cleared by the government in the past and this should not be seen as a development coming in the aftermath of the Doklam standoff. 

"We have the sanctions to establish a total of 734 BoPs along both Nepal and Bhutan borders and we have 635 now on the ground," the DG said. 

The new one coming up in Sikkim is in the pursuit to reach to the 734 BoPs target, he said. 

With the establishment of the battalion headquarter and the BoP here, almost 1,000 more troops would be deployed in the area. 

The DG said while he had no authority to speak on the Indo-China border, the force keeps itself "informed" about all the developments happening around its area of responsibility. 

Mishra said Bhutan "has not shared anything" with them vis-a-vis the Doklam dispute or the situation on the tri-junction border, which is ahead of their deployment in the Sikkim region. 

Taking questions on the influence of China in Nepal and some of its study centres functioning in the Himalayan country, the DG said the force is only concerned about those developments in the neighbourhood which have ramifications on the 1,751-km long India-Nepal border that they guard.

"The impact of Chinese interference on crimes (along India-Nepal border) has not been noticed in the past," he said. 

Of course, the SSB chief said, infiltration of terrorist elements of other countries happened in the past where they used this border (India-Nepal) to enter into India. 

"Any development that is going to affect our border population and any impact on trans-border crime is what we keep a watch on. It is too early to say anything about the impact on border crimes with the changing political situation in Nepal," he said. 

Our mandate, he said, is to be present at the border and secure and serve the border population and to act against trans-border crimes. 

"We have a very limited mandate to go into political developments across the border," he said. 

Chinese and Indian troops were locked in the Dokalam border standoff from June 16 when Indian troops stopped Chinese personnel from building a key road close to India's 'chicken's neck' corridor. 

On August 28, India had announced the "disengagement" between the soldiers of the two countries. The road was being built by China in an area also claimed by Bhutan. 

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