India is likely to hold a large-scale exercise involving the Army, Air Force, and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Ladakh, almost two months after the de-escalation of the border conflict with China.
According to a report by India Today, the Indian Army is doing the overall planning for the exercise aimed at enhancing synergy and cooperation among various forces at the Himalayan border.
The inclusion of multiple forces requires all the parties to come to a common ground on operating procedures and rules, and this was the first time the Army will be seriously training shoulder-to-shoulder with the ITBP troops.
The ITBP is tasked with securing the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between India and China. The paramilitary force is the first line defense along the LAC and the Indian Army remains behind it.
Being deployed round-the-year on the world’s highest mountain ranges, ITBP troops, known as Himveers (Himalayan warriors) are skilled mountaineers and trained in mountain warfare.
The ITBP, one of the five Central Armed Police Forces, was raised on October 24, 1962, in the wake of the India-China war. It is also one of the first responders in times of disasters and natural calamities. ITBP troops are trained in the civil medical camp, disaster management, and nuclear, biological, and chemical disasters.
In the past, they were deployed in UN peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Western Sahara, Sudan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Two battalions of ITBP are deputed to National Disaster Response Force.
Currently, battalions of ITBP are deployed on border guard duties from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Diphu Pass in Arunachal Pradesh. Manned border posts are at altitudes as high as 21,000 feet (6,400 m) in the western, middle & eastern sectors of the LAC.
The ITBP troops also deployed to fight against the Left-wing extremists, better known as Maoists in central India because of their skills and training in jungle warfare, handling of explosives, survival in adverse conditions, unarmed combat, and guerrilla warfare among others.