As the standoff with the Chinese army continues in Doklam near Sikkim, the Ministry of Home Affairs has allowed the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which gaurds Bhutan and Nepal borders, to set up its own full-fledged intelligence wing.
According to Indian media, Indian Central government has approved creation of 650 combatised posts for intelligence setup, a big boost to the operational efficiency of the border guarding force.
Raised in the aftermath of the 1962 India China War, the 80,000 personnel strong force will have a new structure for intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination.
SSB has also been declared as the Lead Intelligence Agency (LIA) for both the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders.
"Thus, it was felt that a well-knit intelligence network of the highest capabilities that can function and deliver would be the prime requirement of comprehensive border management," the MHA statement said.
It said that this was quite essential as the operations of SSB have to be intelligence based so as to prevent criminals and smugglers from taking advantage of the friendly borders with Nepal and Bhutan.
"In the overall context of ramblings across the border and due to the heightened activity of anti-social and anti-national elements and subversive forces, comprehensive border management was the need of the hour as it has become a sensitive and difficult affair," an MHA statement said.
China and India are locked in a standoff in the Doklam area in Sikkim sector near the Bhutan tri-junction for over three weeks after the Chinese army attempted to build a road in the disputed narrow stretch of land.
Sashastra Seema Bal has been mandated the responsibility of guarding the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders where there are no restrictions on the movement of people on either side.
The area under SSB jurisdiction comprises densely populated foothills and plains, thick jungles, under developed regions and inhospitable terrains. The border population on both sides has strong regional, cultural and economic ties.
There is transborder movement of criminals and anti- national elements which pose a major challenge on the border in the context of the visa free regime. Most of the stretches of the border are infested with ISI activists, insurgents, fundamentalists, smugglers of arms, ammunition, narcotics, fake currency and human traffickers.
In addition to that various other anti-India forces with the help of inimical groups are also trying to foment trouble on Indian side.
The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) mans the 1,751-km long India-Nepal and the 699-km long Indo-Bhutan borders.
The force will now train and depute its intelligence agents along the two frontier areas and with those units which are deployed for anti-Naxal operations in Jharkhand and Bihar.
According to Indian media, the new intelligence wing will be raised on the lines of the famed 'G' wing (General wing) of the Border Security Force (BSF) which has some of the major kills and operations to its credit in the Kashmir Valley and the Naxal violence hit states.