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The Border Security Force (BSF) is India's Primary border guarding organisation on its border with China, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is one of the three Border Guarding Forces (BGF) OF India, and was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965, "for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected there with".
It is a paramilitary force charged with guarding India's land border with Pakistan and Bangladesh during peacetime and preventing transnational crime at the same, it has various active roles during an outbreak of war. It is comes under Ministry of Home Affairs. The BSF has its own cadre of officers but its head, designated as a Director-General (DG), since its raising has been an officer from the Indian Police Service. The BSF has grown exponentially from a few battalions in 1965, to 186 battalions with a sanctioned strength of 257,363 personnel including an expanding air wing, marine wing, an artillery regiment, and commando units. It currently stands as the world's largest border guarding force. BSF has been termed as the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories.
Since independence, the protection of India's international boundaries was the responsibility of local police belonging to each border state, with support from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other inter-state authorities. However, during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Pakistan attacked Sardar Post, Chhar Bet, and Beria Bet on 9 April 1965 in Kutch. This attack exposed the inadequacy of the State Armed Police to cope with armed aggression. So after the end of the war, the government created the Border Security Force as a unified central agency with the specific mandate of guarding India's international boundaries. This act brought greater cohesion in border security. K F Rustamji, from the Indian Police Service, was the first Director General of BSF. Since it was a new force, the officers had to be deputed or inducted from outside to fill the various vacancies at various levels until the force's own cadre gets matured enough. Keeping in mind the above, emergency commissioned officers and SS officers of the Indian Army were inducted in large numbers in the force along with IPS officers who were deputed to the force for high level appointments.
The BSF's capabilities were used in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 against Pakistani forces in areas where the Regular Forces were thinly spread; BSF troops took part in several operations including the famous Battle of Longewala. In fact, for BSF the war on eastern front had started well before the war actually broke out in December 1971. BSF had trained, supported and formed part of Mukti Bahini and had entered erstwhile East Pakistan before the actual hostilities broke out. BSF had played a very important role in Liberation of Bangladesh which Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman had also acknowledged.
- Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
- Operation Blue Star
- Operation Black Thunder
- Insurgency in Punjab
- Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir
- Operation Vijay – Kargil War
- 2001 Bangladeshi-Indian border skirmishes
- 2001–2002 Operation Prakarm – India-Pakistan Standoff
- 2013 India-Pakistan Border skirmishes
- 2014–15 India–Pakistan border skirmishes
- 2016–2018 India–Pakistan border skirmishes
- 2019 India–Pakistan border skirmishes
- Border Guard and security.
- Prevention trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India.
- Prevention of smuggling and any other illegal activities on the Border.
- Anti-infiltration duties.
- Collection trans-border intelligence.
- To promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.
During war time
- Holding ground in assigned sectors.
- Limited aggressive action against irregular forces of the enemy.
- Maintenance of Law and Order in enemy territory administered under the Army's control.
- Acting as guides to the Army in border areas.
- Assistance in control of refugees.
- Provision of escorts.
- Performing special tasks connected with intelligence including cross-border raids.
BSF as an armed force is called upon, on the request of state governments to restore law and order whenever deemed necessary. However, as a border guarding force, IS duty is not part of its mandate and is secondary to its primary duty of defence of the borders.
The Border Security Force has its headquarters at New Delhi and is known as Force Headquarters (FHQ) headed by a Director General. Various Directorates like Operations, Communications & IT, Training, Engineering, General, Law, Provisioning, Administration, Personnel, Armaments, Medical, Finance etc. function under the DG. Each Directorate is headed by an IG. The Eastern Theatre is looked after by Spl DG HQ (Eastern Command) at Kolkata and the Western Theatre is looked after by Spl DG HQ (Western Command) at Chandigarh. Field Formations in BSF are headed by an IG and are known as Frontiers Headquarters (FtrHQ). There is 13 such Frontier under which Sector Headquarters (SHQ) function headed by a DIG each. Each SHQ has under its command 4–5 Infantry Battalion, along with attachments of artillery, air and water wings. Presently 186 Battalions are sanctioned to BSF. Five major training institutions and 10 Subsidiary Training Centres (STCs) are imparting ab-initio as well as in-service training to its ranks and other central organizations.
BSF is the only Central Armed Police force to have its own Air Wing and artillery regiment, and besides ITBP to have a Water Wing. All these specialized wings support the Infantry Battalions in their operations. The Financial Adviser of the BSF has been an Indian Revenue Service officer of the rank of Joint Secretary and also has Dy Advisers from the Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian Civil Account Service and Indian Defence Account Service.
The BSF also has a national level school for breeding and training of dogs. Dogs from other central armed forces and State Police are sent to National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD) to be trained in infantry patrol, detection of explosives, tracking and the like.
The BSF maintains a Tear Smoke Unit (TSU), which is unique in India. The TSU is responsible for producing tear gas munitions required for the Anti-Riot Forces like the RAF. It also exports a substantial quantity to other countries.
Three battalions of the BSF, located at Kolkata, Guwahati, and Patna, are designated as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Each battalion maintains 18 self-contained specialist search and rescue teams of 45 personnel each, including engineers, technicians, electricians, dog squads and medics and paramedics. The establishment of each battalion is 1,158 personnel. The NDRF is a multi-disciplinary, multi-skilled, high-tech force for all types of disasters and can deploy to disasters by air, sea, and land. These battalions are equipped and trained for all natural disasters including combating Chemical, Biological Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) disasters.
Since 2014, As a part of modernisation, BSF also started installing infra-red, thermal imagers, aerostats for aerial surveillance, ground sensors, radars, sonar systems to secure riverine borders, fibre-optic sensor and laser beam intrusion detection systems on specific sections of border with Pakistan as well as Bangladesh. These Hi-tech systems are installed in areas where barbed wire fencing could not be installed due to treacherous terrain or marshy riverine topography. The largest section of this system is located at Dhubri, Assam, where Brahmaputra river enters Bangladesh.
- Western Command, Chandigarh
- Gujarat Frontier, Gandhinagar
- Barmer Sector
- Gandhinagar Sector
- Bhuj Sector,
- Rajasthan Frontier, Jodhpur
- Jaisalmer I Sector
- Jaisalmer II Sector
- Bikaner Sector
- Ganganagar Sector
- Punjab Frontier, Jalandhar
- Ferozepur Sector
- Amritsar Sector
- Gurdaspur Sector
- Jammu Frontier, Jammu
- Jammu Sector
- Sunderbani Sector
- Rajauri Sector
- I/Nagar Sector
- Kashmir Frontier, Humhama
- Srinagar Sector
- Baramulla Sector
- Bandipore Sector
- Kupwara Sector
- Gujarat Frontier, Gandhinagar
- Eastern Command, Kolkata
- South Bengal Frontier, Kolkata
- North Bengal Frontier, Kadamtala, Darjeeling District (Siliguri)
- Meghalaya Frontier
- SHQ Mawpat,Shillong
- FHQ Umpling,Shillong
- Tripura Frontier, Agartala
- Mizoram & Cachar Frontier, Masimpur
- Aizawl Sector
- Cachar Sector
- CI Ops Manipur
- Assam Frontier, Guwahati
- ANO Frontier, Bangalore
The Creek Crocodile is the specialized commando unit of BSF. Primary objective of this unit is to act as Quick reaction force and prevent smuggling and infiltration of terrorists by Pakistan. The unit is specifically deployed at Indus River Estuaries in Gujarat and Sir Creek. It was raised in 2009. The base of operations of this unit is located at Koteshwar outpost of BSF. Its current strength is 42.
BSF Camel Contingent is a specialized battalion-size Camelry Unit. The primary purpose of this unit is to patrol the desert section of border with Pakistan. This unit has a strength of 1200 camels and 800 riders. Both camels as well as riders are trained at Camel Training Centre located at BSF Frontier Headquarters in Jodhpur.
List of DGs of BSF
|1.||Khusro Faramurz Rustamji||21 Jul 1965||30 Sep 1974|
|2.||Aswini Kumar||01 Oct 1974||31 Dec 1978|
|3.||Sharawan Tandon||01 Jan 1979||30 Nov 1980|
|4.||K Rama Murti||01 Dec 1980||31 Aug 1982|
|5.||Birbal Nath||02 Oct 1982||30 Sep 1984|
|6.||M.C. Mishra||01 Oct 1984||31 Jul 1987|
|7.||H.P. Bhatnagar||01 Aug 1987||31 Jul 1991|
|8.||T. Ananthachary||01 Aug 1991||31 May 1993|
|9.||Prakash Singh||09 Jun 1993||31 Jan 1994|
|10.||D.K. Arya||01 Feb 1994||04 Dec 1995|
|11.||Arun Bhagat||04 Dec 1995||01 Oct 1996|
|12.||A.K. Tondon||01 Oct 1996||04 Dec 1997|
|13.||E.N. Rammohan||04 Dec 1997||30 Nov 2000|
|14.||Gurbachan Singh Jagat||30 Nov 2000||30 Jun 2002|
|15.||Ajay Raj Sharma||01 Jul 2002||31 Dec 2004|
|16.||R.S. Mooshahary||10 Jan 2005||27 Feb 2006|
|17.||A.K. Mitra||27 Feb 2006||30 Sep 2008|
|18.||M.L. Kumawat||01 Oct 2008||31 Jul 2009|
|19.||Raman Srivastava||01 Aug 2009||31 Oct 2011|
|20.||U.K. Bansal||01 Nov 2011||30 Nov 2012|
|21.||P.R. Jaishree||01 Dec 2012||28 Feb 2014|
|22.||Pal Anjali Ramsajeevan||01 Jan 2015||28 Feb 2016|
|23.||K.K. Sharma||1 March 2014||30 September 2018|
|24.||Rajni Kant Mishra||1 October 2018||31 August 2019|
|25.||V.K. Johri||1 September 2019||10 March 2020|
|26.||Surjeet Singh Deswal||11 March 2020||Present|
Although originally charged with guarding India's external boundaries, In 1990s, the BSF was given the task in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in Jammu And Kashmir, Punjab, and the Northeastern Seven Sister States. While in Punjab, BSF took Part in operations like Blue Star, Black Thunder 1 & 2 till 1989 and when the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir broke out in 1989, the BSF handover the Counter Insurgency Operations to CRPF and Punjab Police and moved towards state of Jammu & Kashmir. In Jammu and Kashmir, state police and the thinly-deployed Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) struggled to cope up with the spiraling violence, and the Indian government deployed the BSF in Jammu and Kashmir to combat terrorists.
In Jammu and Kashmir, BSF initially suffered casualties from insurgent attacks but later saw successes. During the initial years, terrorists activity had even reached parts of jammu and Himachal Pradesh, however it was only due operation by BSF that by late 90s, area of activity had restricted to only the valley. BSF was also successful in setting up a robust HUMINT network. BSF is also credited for killing Ghazi Baba chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed and the mastermind of the 2001 Indian Parliament attack—in August 2003 along with his deputy commander. The BSF raided Baba's hideout in Srinagar and he was killed in the ensuing gun battle along with his deputy chief.
However, with changing tactical and operational conditions, and expansion & modernization of State police. Despite the BSF was withdrawn from counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir in 2006. Government then withdrew all the 16 BSF battalions and diverted back to guard the Indo-Pak border and Indo-Bangladesh border. These unit were then replaced by fresh units from the CRPF that had undergone specialised training in counter-terrorism. Some units of BSF are also deployed Central India to Combat Naxal violence Counter-Maoist operations are diversified between ITBP and BSF. BSF is deployed in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, where Naxal strength is comparatively thinner than that of other parts of Bastar region. At present total 15 battalions of BSF are stationed in different parts of Kanker district to combat the Naxal menace.
Proposal regarding, guarding Indo - Myanmar (Burma) Border
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has been considering a proposal to entrust the border-guarding duty along the Indo-Myanmar border to the Border Security Force (BSF). Presently, the 1,640 kilometres (1,020 mi) Indo-Myanmar border is being guarded by Assam Rifles.
The proposed move to guard the Indo-Myanmar border follows a proposal from the BSF to take over the role by raising 45 new battalions, one headquarters of additional director general, four frontier headquarters to be headed by an IG rank official and 12 sector headquarters to be headed by DIG level officials. However, as of 1 March 2015, it was decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs to keep the authority of this border with Assam Rifles only.
Proposed ORBAT for Myanmar Border
- Northeast Command HQ, Imphal
- Mizoram Frontier
- Manipur Frontier
- Nagaland Frontier
- Arunachal frontier
Rank structure (gazetted officers)
|BSF RANKS||POLICE RANKS||ARMY RANKS|
|Director General (Level 17 - Available only to IPS officers on deputation)||Director General of a State Police Force||Lieutenant General (Level 16)|
|Special Director General (Level 16 - Available only to IPS officers on deputation)||Director General Of Police at centre/DG rank in state||Lieutenant General (Level 15)|
|Additional Director General (Level 15)||Adl. Director General Of Police at centre/DG rank in state||Lieutenant General (Level 15)|
|Inspector General (IG) (Level 14)||Insp. General Of Police at centre/ADG in state||Major General (Level 14)|
|Deputy Inspector General (DIG) (Level 13A)||Dy. Inspector General Of Police at Centre/IG in state||Brigadier (Level 13A)|
|Commandant (Level 13)||Sr. Superintendent Of Police at Centre/DIG in state/senior DCP||senior Lt.Col./ Colonel (Level 13)|
|Second-In-Command (Level 12)||Superintendent Of Police/SSP/DCP||senior Major/junior Lt.Col.(No exact equivalent)|
|Deputy Commandant (Level 11)||Adl. Supritendent Of Police/SP/DCP/Addl. DCP||Major (Level 11)|
|Assistant Commandant (3 stars)||No equivalent/Addl. DCP/Addl.SP||Captain|
|Assistant Commandant (2 stars) (Junior Time Scale/Level 10)||ACP/ASP||Lieutenant (Level 10)|
The BSF personnel have been recipients of the following awards:
- Mahavir Chakra
- Kirti Chakra
- Vir Chakra
- Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
- Shaurya Chakra
- Sena Medal
- Vishisht Seva Medal
- Mentioned in Despatches
- President's Police Medal for Gallantry
- Police Medal for Gallantry
- President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service
- Police Medal for Meritorious Service
- Comdt (Retd) Nripjit Singh, Volleyball-1962
- Dy Comdt (Retd) Udham Singh, Hockey-1965
- Dy Comdt (Retd) Praveen Kumar, Athletic-1967
- Inspr (Retd) Jagjit Singh, Hockey-1967
- Asst Comdt (Retd) Ajit Pal Singh, Hockey-1970
- Dy Comdt (Retd) Balwant Singh, Volleyball-1972
- Sec-in-Command Anil Kumar, B/Ball-1974
- Dy Inspr Gen (Retd) Mohinder Singh, Shooting-1983
- Asst Comdt Mahabir Singh, Wrestling-1985
- Asst Comdt Subhash Verma, Wrestling-1987
- Inspr Rajesh Kumar, Wrestling-1990
- Inspr Sanjay Kumar, Wrestling-1998
All the equipment including the uniforms, weapons, ammunition, vehicles such as the bullet proof vehicles, troop carriers, logistics vehicles, mine protected vehicles are manufactured indigenously at the Indian Ordnance Factories under control of the Ordnance Factories Board.
Pistols and handguns
Sub-machine guns and carbines
- Heckler & Koch MP5K and A3 variants 9 mm ×19 mm SMG
- Beretta MX4 Storm submachine guns. 68000 SMGs procured and replaced the SAF Carbine 1A.
- AKM: 7.62x39mm assault rifle.
- INSAS: 5.56 mm × 45 mm Assault Rifle. Service rifle of the force.
- Tavor X95: version used as the standard issue carbine.
- INSAS LMG
- Gun Machine 7.62 mm '1B' OFB Manufactured, modified 7.62 mm NATO Bren (limited use).
- FN MAG MMG
- NSV HMG
- Vidhwansak anti-materiel rifle (AMR) or large-calibre sniper rifle
- Steyr SSG 69
- Ishapore 1A/1C Since phased out as the standard rifle by the INSAS rifle, the rifle is still used as a DMR.
Multi-role recoilless rifle
- Carl Gustav 84 mm recoilless rifles
- 81 mm Mortar
- 51 mm Mortar
- 120 mm Mortar
- 105 mm Indian Field Gun
Criticism and controversy
In 2010, some Canadian visa officials rejected the immigration application of a retired BSF soldier Fateh Singh Pandher, terming BSF a "notoriously violent paramilitary unit engaged in systematic attacks on civilians and responsible for torturing suspected criminals". This accusation did not go down well with the Indian government. The Indian External Affairs Ministry was asked by the Home minister to take up the issue with Canada. The Home ministry of India, as well as the Indian public in general and several of India's political parties, expressed outrage at this attack and called Canada's actions discriminatory and spurious, and their charges against the BSF as baseless and unproven. The Indian government threatened diplomatic retaliation unless Canada withdrew their allegations. The Canadian government did not respond immediately. It was speculated that diplomatic retaliation from India will consist of banning Canadians going to participate the War in Afghanistan if they are doing so through India. Public outrage in India prompted Canadian authorities to express "great respect for India's armed forces and related institutions". Subsequently, India's Ministry of External Affairs summoned Canadian High Commissioner Joseph Caron and demanded that "the blatant discrimination against Indian security agencies" cease. India's Minister of External Affairs, SM Krishna, condemned Canada's actions and has expressed pride in the accomplishments of the BSF.
Following complaints made by the Indian government and criticism of Canada's actions against India, the Harper government retracted their earlier accusations against BSF security officials. Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, termed as "unfortunate" the incidents involving use of "foul language by the Canadian High Commission in visa rejection letters to some individuals", Kenney said, "This language, or the inaccurate impression it has created, in no way reflects the policy or position of the Government of Canada."
Bangladesh border killings
According to the Bangladeshi government, 136 civilians were killed and a further 170 others suffered injuries in 2009. The Indian government has said that 67 were killed and 80 injured in 2009. The Bangladesh government and Bangladeshi organizations protested heavily against these alleged killings. Media reports claim that in August 2008, Indian BSF officials admitted that they killed 59 persons (34 Bangladeshis, 21 Indians, rest unidentified) who were trying to cross the border illegally during the prior six months. Indian media claimed that, in 2001, Bangladeshi Border Force kidnapped and murdered 16 BSF personnel because they chased some Bangladeshi goons back to Bangladesh. Since then, the BSF has been compelled to act tough against Bangladeshi illegals
In July 2009 Channel 4 News reported that apparently "hundreds" of Bangladeshis and Indians are indiscriminately killed by the BSF along the Indo-Bangladeshi Barrier. The BSF claims that the barrier's main purpose is to check illegal immigration to India, and prevent cross-border terrorism from Islamists.
Bangladeshi media accused the BSF of abducting 5 Bangladeshi children, aged between 8 and 15, from the Haripur Upazila in Thakurgaon District of Bangladesh, in 2010. The children were setting fishing nets near the border.
In 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued an 81-page report which alleged "over 900 of abuses by the BSF" in the first decade of the 21st century. The report was compiled from interviews with victims of BSF shootings, witnesses and members of the BSF and its Bangladeshi counterpart. According to HRW, while most of them were killed when they crossed into Indian territory for indulging in cattle raiding or other smuggling activities.
In February 2012, the BSF website was hacked by Bangladeshi hackers in retaliation. The hackers later shared the news in the internet and also in the other social sites where they claimed to have defaced the sites asking the BSF to stop killing Bangladeshis at border. The site became normal sometime on 15 February 2012.
- Assam Rifles
- Border Security Force (Water Wing)
- Central Industrial Security Force
- Central Reserve Police Force
- Indo-Tibetan Border Police
- Sashastra Seema Bal
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