Giving a major boost to the operational capabilities of border guarding force SSB–tasked to secure the country’s frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan — the government has sanctioned over 9,000 assault rifles, 34 armoured vehicles and more than 760 patrolling bikes to it. Officials said the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) had sometime back written to the Union Home Ministry for not only upgrading its arms, ammunition and vehicles, but also wanted an upgrade in this regard.
“Among the sanctions received include procurement of 12 bullet proof vehicles, 15 light armoured troop carriers, seven mine protected vehicles, 42 four-wheel patrolling vehicles, 763 bikes for troops’ patrol in Left Wing Extremism affected areas and 9,917 new assault rifles,” they said, adding, procurements will be made soon.
The SSB, apart from being deployed to secure the 1,751-km long Indo-Nepal and 699-km long Indo-Bhutan borders, is also deployed to undertake anti-Naxal operations in Bihar and Jharkhand apart from rendering a variety of duties in the internal security domain. Officials said the new vehicles and weapons, once procured, will be sent across to various border guarding formations and those deployed in the LWE hit areas and Jammu and Kashmir.
The SSB has also sought raising a full-fledged combat intelligence wing comprising around 1,000 personnel in order to better secure the “sensitive” and porous borders of Nepal and Bhutan. The force has 67 battalions on ground at present (about 67,000 personnel) and in the next two years it will raise more such contingents to rise its number upto 73 battalions.