The Assam Rifles will continue to man the porous Myanmar border despite a proposal by the Union Home Ministry to replace the paramilitary force with Border Security Force.
In a recent meeting between Army chief General Dalbir Singh and Home Secretary LC Goyal, it was decided that Assam Rifles shall continue to be deployed along the Myanmar border as interim measure.
The Home Ministry has been pushing for the deployment of BSF along the 1,643 km long border with Myanmar for the past five years.
On Thursday, chief of Joint Intelligence Committee, R N Ravi, held a meeting on the issue. He will submit the report to Union Home Minister.
According to sources, the BSF had told the home ministry that at least 42,000 men would have to be recruited if the force had to be deployed along the Myanmar border.
Assam Rifles (AR), which already has 25,000 men deployed there, said they would need only 16,000 more men to plug the gaps along the border.
“As far as financial implications are concerned, it makes sense for the Assam Rifles to continue there, as they would have to recruit only a few thousand additional men.
As far as BSF is concerned, new installations and manpower need to be raised. The government does not have that much money to support BSF’s recruitment plan now,” said a senior official of the home ministry.
Though an interim decision has been taken to let Assam Rifles continue along Myanmar border, the final decision would be that of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), sources said.
India and Myanmar share an unfenced border of 1,643 km adjoining Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km) and Mizoram (510 km) and permit a ‘free movement’ regime upto 16 km across the border.
While Assam Rifles functions under the Ministry of Defence, its administrative control is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“The BSF had a proposal to raise 42 battalions, but it was brought down to 37. Even then the financial implication of raising additional battalions of Assam Rifles is much less than that of the BSF,” said the official.