Indo-Myanmar border to have helipads; Rs 8640 cr budget soon

New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) The government is planning tobuild helicopter bases and enhance road connectivity along theporous Indo-Myanmar border to enable dispatching of quickreinforcements and other supplies to BSF troops who will nowguard the border instead of the paramilitary Assam Rifles.

The Centre is also expected to clear a Rs 8639.81 crorebudget plan in the coming fiscal to raise additional 41battalions in the Border Security Force which will now bedeployed close to that border in order to enhance vigil.

The BSF will have additional 41,000 personnel, fourfrontier headquarters, 11 sector headquarters after thegovernment recently decided to replace the Assam Rifles-- currently guarding the 1,640km-long frontier -- by the BSF,which guards borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"A security audit report jointly prepared by the BSF andAssam Rifles has been submitted to the Home Ministry. Theproposal envisages construction of helipads and enhancement ofroad network along the porous and densely forestedIndo-Myanmar border," sources familiar with the developmentsaid.

"The proposal is under active consideration and advancedstage for approval, including the financial sanction forincreasing the strength of the BSF, to enable it to take upthe new responsibility," they said.

Most of the posts of Assam Rifles are located well insideIndian territory and only a handful of posts are located nearthe zero line, which makes it easier for the insurgentscamping in Myanmar to sneak into India easily.

The BSF has hence been asked to construct the posts closeto the border, they said.

BSF is currently responsible for guarding the Indo-Pakand Indo-Bangla borders and about ten of its battalions arealso deployed in Maoist-affected areas in central and easternIndia and anti-insurgency operations in the Northeast.

Assam Rifles was entrusted with the responsibility ofguarding the border with Myanmar in 2002 and at that time, thestrength of the force was 30 battalions.

Gradually, the strength of the force has been increasedto 46 battalions. Twenty more battalions are being raised bythe force, the country''s oldest paramilitary force to take upduties related to internal security.

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