New Delhi: India will raise seven new battalions of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in the following couple of years, a minister said on Wednesday, amid strains with neighbor China that prompted destructive line conflicts in 2020 and fights before the end of last year.
The 3,800-kilometre (2,360 mi) unmarked border between the nuclear-armed countries has been largely peaceful since the war in 1962 before clashes nearly three years ago led to a deterioration in relations.
The ITBP primarily guards the India-China border, which extends from the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh in the north of India to Jachep La in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in the east. In the past few years, there have been face-offs between Indian and Chinese soldiers in some areas of the border.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur told a press conference that the new battalions, approved at the cabinet meeting and coming up by 2025/26, would include 47 new border outposts and 12 ITBP training camps. Indian and Chinese troops had a minor skirmish along the border in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang sector in December, which was also claimed by Beijing.
This was the first skirmish after the soldiers joined hands in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh adjacent to the Tibetan plateau occupied by China. 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers were killed in that incident.