25th November 2019
TOPIC: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate. (Paper II)
Discuss the proposal to merge Assam Rifles with ITBP.
Reports suggest that an attempt is underway to shift the operational control of Assam Rifles from the Army to the Home Ministry.
- This is not the first time that such an attempt is being made to ride roughshod over Assam Rifles in the sensitive Northeast region to serve the vested interests.
- In 2009, the draft cabinet note for the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) was moved to amalgamate the Assam rifles, a paramilitary force, with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), a Central Armed police Force, and provide leadership from the police, replacing military leadership.
- This proposal was turned down by the CCS, understandably recognizing the importance of history and traditions of Assam Rifles, and the crucial role it continues to play in the security of the Northeast region.
- Since then, at least seven attempts have been made to target Assam rifles in order to enlarge options for cadre management of police.
Operating in a sensitive region:
- The Northeast is the most volatile and insurgency-affected region of India after Kashmir.
- Besides operating from within the region, militants surreptitiously operate from neighbouring countries by exploiting the free movement regime along the India-Myanmar border and inaccessible terrain.
- These borders, though settled, require specialized skills, not just mere policing functions.
- Recently, china has brought its frontier troops, including those guarding the border with India, directly under the military command, removing civilian control over them.
- The India-Myanmar border, though manned by Myanmar’s Border Guard Police, is also controlled by Myanmar’s army for conducting seamless operations against insurgent groups operating against the state.
Shifting Assam Rifles under a cadre which is looking to just create cadre which is looking to just create career opportunities places personal interests over national security.