New Delhi: The Narendra Modi led NDA government is planning to provide military training to people living along the China border so that they can act as a paramilitary force and keep a check on the incursions by the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
The idea is to integrate the border population with overall vigilance and security apparatus in the northeast and Jammu & Kashmir.
Sources within home ministry said the government plans to train border populations at the level of a paramilitary force and even give them arms training so that in times of emergency they can be utilized.
The development comes days after fresh aggression from China in Pangong lake in Ladakh.
Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had earlier said the policy of keeping borders off the reach of people had to be shunned and that more and more people should be encouraged to visit and settle in border areas.
The tradition of giving military training to the border population started after the India-China war in 1962, when the Special Service Bureau, now renamed Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), was raised to inculcate a feeling of nationality among the border population and develop their capabilities for resistance through a continous process of motivation and training. The practice of armed training was discontinued in 2001.
In vast swathes of the border in Arunachal Pradesh there are no settlements of people.
ITBP, which guards the border, walks for 21 days with ration and other paraphernalia to conduct one long range patrolling as roads are absent and there are no villages near the border.
The idea is if people stay near the border such difficulties would be easy to surmount and help forces secure the border.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has already proposed spending Rs 5,000 crore to encourage villagers to settle along the China border in Arunachal Pradesh. The proposal is pending clearance from the Finance Ministry.