The Assam Rifles, hailed as the 'Sentinels of the North East', has embarked on a vigorous modernisation drive to give it more firepower.
The modernisation plans of the senior-most paramilitary force of the nation include procuring state-of-the-art weapons and latest gadgets to boost operational efficiency of the troops, Assam Rifles spokesman Lt Col Shashank Ranjan said ahead of the 173rd anniversary celebrations of the force beginning on Saturday.
Also known as the 'Friends of the Hill People', the Assam Rifles has 65,000 troops at present, having grown in strength of just 750 combatants at the time of its inception in 1835.
The force, raised as a 'militia' outfit by the name of 'Cahcar Levy' to protect and safeguard British interests in the region, saw a change in its role over the years and came to be known as 'Frontier Police', 'Assam Military Police' and finally 'Assam Rifles' in 1917.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil will be the Chief Guest at the anniversary function on Saturday.
The Assam Rifles is not only entrusted with the task of maintaining internal security, but also makes a lot of contribution towards uplift of the people of the North East as it believes that development is the only remedy to various woes of the people of that region.
With the region prone to calamities like floods, earthquakes and famine, the Assam Rifles also plays a key role in providing succour to victims in the most inhospitable and remote areas, that are also hit by insurgency.