Guarding the eastern border: IB to get 2,000 cadres from SSB
In a bid to bolster India's defence on the eastern borders, over 2,000 personnel will be transferred from the Sashastra Seema Bal to the Intelligence Bureau. A total of 2,765 posts of the civilian cadre of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) will be shifted to the IB command over the next year. Of these posts, 2,039 are operational.
"The civil wing of the SSB should be transferred to the IB lock, stock and barrel, including land, physical infrastructure, equipment among others," a government blueprint states.
A top security official privy to the "ambitious" plan said a 300-page proposal for the transfer of the assets -- both manpower and infrastructure -- had been prepared at the SSB headquarters here and had been vetted by the home ministry and the office of the national security advisor (NSA) for final implementation.
He added that the manpower of the civil wing of the SSB, which is termed as "dying" as it does not have promotional and work avenues, would be deployed to bolster the IB's presence in the eastern border areas, where these officials have worked for long.
The average age of the cadre, the official said, was above 50 years and the personnel had done a lot of work with the people living along the Nepal and Bhutan borders.
They not only helped them integrate with the mainstream, but also acted as the "eyes and ears" of the SSB, the designated lead intelligence agency on the two borders.
The cadre was first raised in 1963, in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression of the previous year, to work in the border areas and promote a sense of national belonging and pro-India feelings among the local population.
It worked under the external intelligence agency -- Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) -- till 2001, under the name Special Service Bureau.
The name of the force was changed to Sashastra Seema Bal in 2003, following the 1999 Kargil conflict. It was then tasked with guarding the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders on the country's eastern flank.