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'Cabinet to decide BSF deployment along India-Myanmar border'

Last updated: 06 June, 2010
Shillong, June 6 (PTI) 16:40 IST

A proposal to deploy Border Security Force personnel along the Indo-Myanmar border, presently guarded by Assam Rifles, is under consideration, Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said.

"A final decision on whether the Indo-Myanmar border will be manned by BSF or Assam Rifles will be taken by the Union cabinet," Pillai told PTI during his three-day visit to the state that began on June 3.

India shares a 1,640 KM-long border with Myanmar manned by Assam Rifles and the dense forests in most parts make the boundary porous and vulnerable. Most of the posts of Assam Rifles are located well inside Indian territory and only a handful of them are located near the zero line, which makes it easier for the insurgents camping in Myanmar to sneak into India easily, official sources said.

BSF is currently responsible for guarding the Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh border, with some battalions also deployed in Maoist-hit areas in central and eastern India and anti-insurgency operations in the Northeast. Assam Rifles was entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the border with Myanmar in 2002 and at that time, the strength of the force was 30 battalions.

Gradually, the strength of the force has been increased to 46 battalions. Twenty more battalions are being raised by the force, which is the country's oldest paramilitary force.

Pillai admitted that there was a shortage of officers in the Army and this situation has prompted the Centre to consider a proposal of Assam Rifles on the direct entry of officers.

"There is a proposal for direct entry of officers for certain percentage partly because of the shortage of Indian army officers," he said last Friday. Though a paramilitary force, the officer cadre of Assam Rifles is composed of Army officers on deputation.

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