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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

India-China border peaceful, says ITBP chief

SS Deswal, the director general of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which guards the China border, said on Wednesday that there have been no incidents of “transgression” lately and the situation remains “peaceful”.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2019 02:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
“There has not been any major incident of incursion by Chinese troops”, said SS Deswal, the director general of ITBP.
“There has not been any major incident of incursion by Chinese troops”, said SS Deswal, the director general of ITBP.(PTI File Photo)
         

SS Deswal, the director general of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which guards the China border, said on Wednesday that there have been no incidents of “transgression” lately and the situation remains “peaceful”.

Asked if there was any standoff between the troops of the two sides around the time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese premier Xi Jinping met earlier this month, Deswal said that national security and diplomatic efforts are “delinked” and should be seen in that context. “Irrespective of these things, we remain on alert and in a state of continuous guard,” Deswal said.

Modi met Xi at Mamallapuram on October 11-12. There were uncorroborated reports around that time the two sides had a brief faceoff at one of the sectors at the India-China border.

Addressing reporters at ITBP’s annual conference in New Delhi, Deswal said there has not been any major incident of incursion by Chinese troops.

“We [Indian and Chinese troops] patrol the same area. We sometimes come in front of each other, but there have been no incidents [of aggression]. India and China have a very good understanding and good mechanism to find solution to all the situations arising at the border. The border is absolutely safe,” he added.

He added that “status quo” is maintained at India-China border by both sides.

Since the standoff between Indian and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Doklam plateau in 2017, ITBP has been increasing its presence at the border and has constructed 25 new border outposts (BoPs) along the 3,488-km border. In all, it now has 180 BoPs at the India-China border.

Deswal said they are surveying more areas where more BoPs could be built. He said infrastructure has improved at the border, particularly roads, with the construction of 56 new roads. “The effort has been to reach the zero point [the last point or BoP] using roads. Currently, 52 of our border outposts can only be reached and serviced by air,” Deswal said.

The ITBP was raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression under the Union home ministry and apart from its primary task of guarding the LAC (line of actual control), it renders a variety of internal security duties.