The Border Security Force of India: First Wall of Defence of Indian Territories
A few days back we had written an article on Facts about International Borders of India and it was very well received by our readers. In that article we also mentioned how Indian Armed Forces guard such an inhospitable border under different climatic conditions. One of our reader mentioned that excluding the border of Jammu & Kashmir rest of border of India is managed by Border Security Force of India (BSF) and in Jammu & Kashmir too Indian Army guards the border with the help from BSF. Although all the forces of India do an incredible job to guard our country and its citizens, usually we end up giving more credit to Indian Defense Forces and forget to mention the other Central Armed Police Forces. Out of five Central Armed Police Forces, BSF primarily take care of International Border of India during the peace time and helps Indian Army to manage the border during war time. In this article we would be discussing about Border Security Force of India, organization of BSF, various divisions of BSF India and important roles played by BSF India during war and peace time. We Hope it would be helpful for all our readers and they would know more about other Armed forces of India.
What is Border Security Force
BSF stands for Border Security Force and it was raised after the India-Pakistan war of 1965. Before 1965 Indian border with Pakistan was guarded by the State Armed Police Battalion. During the war of 1965, Pakistan attacked on Sardar Post, Chhar Bet and Beria Bet on 9 April, 1965 in Kutch. It exposed the inadequacy of the State Armed Police to cope with armed aggression due to which the Government of India felt that Indian Border would be more protected if it is under a control of a centralized force rather than a distributed force. Therefore BSF was born on 1st December 1965 with motto “Duty unto Death”.
Current State of Border Security Force
Border Security Force was formed by merging few battalions in 1965 and over a period of time it has grown to 186 battalions with more than 2,40,000 personals. Border Security force is world’s largest border guarding force and it is one of the few border forces in the world to have its own air wing, marine wing, artillery regiments, commando units, dog and camel squad. BSF is known as First Wall of Defence of Indian Territories and its personals are famous for their swift availability and dedication for their motherland. BSF ethos “Any task, Anytime, Anywhere”. The head of BSF is known as Director General (DG) and he should be an officer from Indian Police Services. At Present BSF guards the Border of India which are adjacent to Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is to be noted that the border between India and Myanmar is guarded by Assam Rifles.
Important Role Played By Border Security Force of India
The primary role of BSF is to guard the Border of India during peace as well as during the war time. They help Indian Army during war time as they are much familiar with local people and topography. In past they fought along with Indian Army and have proved their importance especially in India-Pakistan war of 1971 and Kargil War of 1999. Apart from its involvement in war it also deals with counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in different Indian states. It helped to control the situation of Punjab during the 1984 Riots and Attack on Golden Temple. Currently BSF is taking care of Naxal hit areas of central India and 15 battalions of BSF are stationed in different parts of Central India to combat Naxal menace.
Training and Organizational Structure of Border Security Force
BSF personnel undergoes one of the toughest training in the world and on completion of their training they are one of the finest fighting soldiers in the world. They guard India-Pakistan border in Thar Desert where temperature goes as high as 50 centigrade and in Jammu & Kashmir where temperature drops below zero. In Rann of Kutch they have to deal with the swampy land and saline water whereas in India-Bangladesh border they have to deal with thick forest cover and marshy land. These areas are known for poisonous creatures and ferocious animals like Bengal Tiger. Therefore they are trained depending on the location they are deployed. BSF has three main training Institutions, five Special Training Schools and eleven STCs/BTCs (Subsidiary Training Centers/Basic Training centers) spread across the Country. A border man pledge during training is as follow:
I will not Disgrace the Border man’s Arms, nor Abandon the Comrade, who stands at my side. Whether alone or with many, I will defend everything that my Country holds sacred.
The Border Security Force has its Headquarters at New Delhi and is known as Force Headquarters (FHQ) headed by a Director General. The Eastern Theatre is looked after by Special DG HQ at Kolkata and the Western Theatre is headed by Special DG HQ at Chandigarh.
Important Task & Achievements by Border Security Force of India
Also Read: The Day India Took Revenge of 1962 War
BSF rely on the fact that “MORE YOU SWEAT DURING PEACE LESS YOU BLEED DURING WAR” so BSF personals are always ready to serve their motherland either in case of war of some natural calamity. Here is a list of some great achievements by Border security force of India and important tasks performed by them:
- The Border Security Force actively participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan War and they were successful on both eastern and western front. On eastern front along the India-Bangladesh border they trained and supported the Bangladeshi guerrilla force to counter Pakistani Army and formed “Mukti Bahini”. On the western front they helped Indian Army to fight against Pakistani attack in the areas where army battalions were less in number. Famous “Battle of Longewala” is a best example of how BSF played a very important role in Liberation of Bangladesh.
- BSF also actively participated in “Operation Blue Star” which aimed to remove Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers from the holiest Gurdwara of Sikhs.
- BSF played an important role in maintaining law and order in Eastern part of India (1984 Assam Unrest) and 1989 Armed insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. Indian government deployed the BSF in Jammu and Kashmir to combat separatist militants and BSF contribution in reducing militancy in J&K is widely acknowledged.
- During the Kargil War of 1999, BSF remained on the heights of the mountains and defended the integrity of the country with all the might at its command in unison with the Indian Army.
- In August 2003, BSF killed Ghazi Baba, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed and mastermind of the 2001 attack on Indian Parliament along with his deputy commander.
- BSF has played a very important role in India-Pakistan & India-Bangladesh border skirmish of 2001, 2013 and 2015.
- Every year BSF contributes a large number of personnel for services in United Nations Peace Keeping Mission. Also three battalions of the BSF, located at Kolkata, Guwahati and Patna, are designated as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). During the earthquake of Gujarat in 2001, BSF was the first to reach out and help the distressed people.
- BSF maintains Tear Smoke Unit (TSU) in Gwalior and is only manufacturer of tear gas and chili grenades in India. All the law enforcement agencies in India get their supply from here. It also exports a substantial quantity to other countries.
- BSF also maintains a national level school for breeding and training of dogs called National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD). The training of the dog starts at the age of six to nine months. Dogs are trained in various disciplines as demanded by respective departments.
- BSF has a unique Camel Cavalry that carries out patrolling in Thar Desert of India. The camel cavalry of BSF is one of the main attraction in Republic Day Parade of India.
- BSF performs the Flag Lowering Ceremony at Attari, Husainiwala & Sadque Border. These places lies on the International border between India & Pakistan. During the ceremony, BSF and the Pakistan Rangers perform a military drill. This ceremony attracts thousands of spectators from both the countries.
- Borer Security Force was considered a male bastion because of the nature of duty it used to perform. Now BSF has deployed first batch of women personnel at the border to guard the Border of India as it was performed by their male counterparts. In total 595 women constables will be deployed on the border with 100 on the India-Pakistan and 60 on India-Bangladesh border.
- By January 2017 BSF has planned to put up the tallest national flag near the Attari-Wagah Border. The flag would be 350 feet high and it would be visible from Lahore as well as Amritsar.
So we have seen the importance of Border Security force for India and their hard work and dedication to maintain peace within India and along its border. Like all the Indian organizations there are issues but they keep aside all the grievances while serving their nation and we should acknowledge their efforts. They share equal burden during the war as well as during the peace time. Unlike Army, BSF fights an unending war throughout the country and they never have what we can call a peace time. We complain about our job while sitting in our Air Conditioned offices but we forgot that there are soldiers working in severe climatic conditions for us. The following lines best describe the Border Security Force of India:
“They are not men in uniforms. They are much more than that. They are angels sent from the heavens. They can bring total order and discipline in the society if they are given the power and the authority. Leave immigrants not even a bird can fly in from the other side of the border.”