By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Jan 15: The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) will soon have an air wing to check on Chinese incursion in Indian territory, Chinese construction activities and troop build-up across the border, according to a report published by The Times of India.
The report further stated that two twin-engine helicopters are being procured to be used for recce, transportation of combat troops, evacuation of dead, injured and sick jawans, to supply rations and fly VIPs at altitudes of 16,000-18,000 feet in the Himalayas.
The ITBP Director General, RK Pachnanda will also become the commander of the ITBP air wing as well.
The ITBP’s air wing will reportedly cover almost the entire 3,488 km stretch border with China. ITBP helicopters will operate from its bases in Chandigarh and Borjhar in Guwahati. The process to acquire the helicopters on wet lease is reported to have begun.
The ITBP twin-engine helicopters will have several features to meet operational exigencies at high altitudes and reach forward locations, the report said.
The features of the helicopters include capacity to ferry 8-10 troopers at a time along with the arms and ammunitions, fly for two hours without refuelling, night flying capability and special features for slithering of troopers and dropping of rations.
“The move is aimed at keeping an eye on Chinese activities across the border, including construction of roads, building permanent structures in disputed area across the LAC, PLA troop build-up and also to stay informed about transgressions into Indian villages and enhance mobility of our troops, so that there is no delay on our part in case China tries something mischievous,” the report said quoting a source from the Indian Home Ministry.
Post Dokhlam standoff, the Indian government has asserted to beef up India’s defence along the border with China. Until now, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Border Security Force (BSF) provided air support to the ITBP on emergency basis.
ITBP, one of the five Central Armed Forces of India, was established in the wake of the Sino-Indian war of 1962 to guard India’s border along the Chinese occupied Tibet.