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Border-guarding troops deployed on posts above 9,000 feet will now be decorated with a new ‘high altitude medal’ to recognise their services in the tough terrain and adverse climate areas, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday. Officiating as the chief guest for the 55th Raising Day celebrations of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police here, Singh said a policy decision has been taken to honour the valour and commitment to duty of the men and women of these forces.
The new medal will also given to the personnel of forces like the BSF (Indo-Pak, Indo-Bangla border-guarding force) and the SSB (Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan border guarding force) among others. “We got to know that there were some difficulties in awarding the high altitude medals to the personnel working at border outposts located above the height of 9,000 ft. So, we have decided that now all jawans and officers who work at a height of 9,000 ft and above will be awarded with the high altitude medal,” he said.
The forces, officials said, have been making a demand for instituting such a medal as this will work to boost the morale of those personnel who render duties in such harsh conditions. The Home Minister acknowledged that forces like ITBP work in adverse conditions facing vagaries of harsh climate and difficult terrain.
“I am aware of the adverse conditions the ITBP personnel face while discharging their duties,” he said. He recalled his visit to such an ITBP border post in the Ladakh region sometime back. “I have seen ITBP personnel working in tough, adverse conditions and even that could not dampen their morale. They have carried out all responsibilities they were entrusted with,” he said.
Singh said the government has also recently decided to raise the financial aid amount to the families of the troops
of paramilitary forces who lay down their lives in line of duty. “The force personnel who are martyred in combat with terrorists and extremists or anti-social elements, the compensation to them has been increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh. Those who make the supreme sacrifice in the duty at border posts, the financial aid to their families has been increased from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 35 lakh,” the Home Minister said.
The 90,000-personnel strong ITBP, raised in 1962, is deployed to secure the 3,488-km Sino-India border running along five states from Karakoram Pass in Jammu and Kashmir to Jechap La in Arunachal Pradesh. Many of the ITBP posts are located at a height of 9,000 feet upto 14,500 feet.