Line of Actual Control Current Affairs - 2019

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Govt. approves raising of 2 operational commands for ITBP at Chandigarh and Guwahati

Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a full cadre review for the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). This has resulted in creation of more than 3,000 new posts and raising of two operational commands for ITBP that guards Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

Key Highlights

The decision comes on the eve of ITBP’s 58th Raising Day observed every year on 24 October. The new commands are expected to be in place by 2020 and will help in effective domination and control of LAC that is marred by harsh weather and high-altitude locations.

Union government has cleared an about-1.5-year-old proposal of the force. The cadre review exercise of ITBP has been conducted after 18 years, as the last review was done in 2001.

The review, for Group ‘A’ general duty (executive) cadre and non-general duty officials, will create more than 3,000 new posts, including 60 in top command. It will also allow raising two commands along 3,488-km-long LAC with China that force guards.

Two New Commands: Western command to be based at Chandigarh and Eastern command at Guwahati, Assam. It will be headed by Additional Director General (ADG)-rank officers and will have several frontiers under them that will oversee troops and battalion deployments along China front, starting from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh. This command structure would allow better planning of operations as well as resource mobilisation in times of peace and war.

In 2019, Union government had moved the North West (NW) frontier of ITBP from Chandigarh to Leh for better dominance of front. The frontier is headed by an Inspector General-rank officer who is equivalent to a Major General of Indian Army.

About Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)

It is one of the seven Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) of India under the authority of Union Ministry of Home Affairs. It was raised in the wake of the Sino-Indian War (1962) on 24 October 1962 under the CRPF Act. It was intended for deployment along India and Tibet border.

Indian Army begins its first mountain combat exercise ‘Him Vijay’ in Arunachal Pradesh

The Indian army will begin its first ever mountain combat on October 7. The exercise is to test the mobility, coordination and communication of the troops in difficult terrain. The exercise is to be conducted in two phases.

Highlights of the exercise

  • The first phase will be held between October 7 and October 10, 2019. The second phase will be held between October 20 and October 24, 2019.
  • The exercise will include threes battle groups, each comprising of 4,000 soldiers. This is the largest military exercise in the history of Indian defense. The exercise includes mountain assault and air assault as well.
  • The exercise is done more than 100 km in the Indian Territory from the Line of Actual Control
  • The army helicopters and air force are to transfer the troops and equipment at the terrain up to 15,000 feet.

Significance of the exercise

The exercise is important for the validation of the Integrated Battle Group (IBG) that was newly raised with new operational concepts. The IBG was established to meet the modern warfare considering the military progress of the enemy threats.

IBG – Integrated Battle Group

IBG was created in 2018. It was created for quicker and formidable launch of attack on enemy. There are about 5 to 6 IBG units. The configuration of the unit depends on the aim the forces require to achieve at that point of time and also depends on the operational terrain.

The Combat arms of the IBG namely armored, Infantry, Artillery, mechanized infantry will be trained together at one place. Based on the terrain desert, mountain or plains the intelligence team of engineers, signal support, communication support, supply will be integrated.

Concerns

The exercise is to be conducted almost on the same timeline of Chinese President Xi Kingping arrival to India between October 11 and 13. He is to attend a second informal meeting with the Indian PM Modi at Mamallpuram, Tamil Nadu.

India and China share boundary of 3,488 km. Of which, 1126 km lies between Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh. The exercise is to be conducted at a distance of 100 km from the Line of Actual Control in the Indian Territory.

Each troop holds more than 4,000 soldiers. The protocol requires that if either sideline of Actual Control, it shall not be targeted against the other side.