Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday that the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) has increased its strength along the India-Bhutan border creating more border outposts and deploying more men after the Doklam standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies.Addressing the border guarding force during its 54th anniversary parade in Delhi, Singh said that the Sashastra Seema Bal not only guards India’s border with Nepal and Bhutan, it also takes care that friendly relations with these neighbouring countries do not sour. “The past year has been tremendous for the force. The Sashastra Seema Bal has increased its strength after the Doklam standoff with China, by creating more border outposts near Sikkim and Bhutan border,” Singh said.He also said that people living near border areas should be considered as strategic assets of India and lauded the SSB for organising several welfare events for these people.When asked about confidence building measures with neighbouring countries, Singh said, “Confidence building measures are a continuing and ongoing process. It is always on and should be always on.”The SSB Director General Rajni Kant Mishra had also said that following the Doklam standoff, SSB increased its presence in the eastern part of Sikkim on India-Bhutan border.Post Doklam, two more battalions have been raised and thus, the total number of available battalions is now 69, just a few short of the total number of authorised 73 battalions. Mishra said that four battalions are also in the process for raising and they will be operationised by December 31, taking the tally of battalions to 73. The SSB has raised eight more Border Out-Posts (BOPs) increasing the total number of BOPs from 627 in January, 2017 to 635 in November.The SSB guards the 1,751-km India-Nepal and 699-km India-Bhutan borders since its inception.Also, various modernisation works were carried out by the force since the standoff. This year, the force has acquired two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of Netra II version and is in the process of acquiring two Laser Based Explosive cum Narcotic Detectors. A multi-purpose boardroom has also been established at Force Headquarters improving our connectivity with our field units through advanced video conferencing facilities. Safe movement of our troops will be ensured by adding seven numbers of mine protected vehicles, 15 Light Armed Troop Carriers and 12 Bullet Proof Vehicles to fleet.The force has got fresh authorisation from MHA for 9,917 Assault Rifles, 22 Automatic Grenade Launcher, 324 Underbarrel Grenade Launchers and 14 Multiple Grenade Launcher were received and they will be procured by March, 2018.Early this month, sources in intelligence agencies had stated that there has been a sudden surge in Chinese incursion along the Indo-Chinese border, after Doklam. In the months of October and November, when heavy snowfall starts making the Indo-Chinese border almost inaccessible, and the presence of troops starts thinning, a sudden surge in Chinese activity has made Indian security establishment wary about the future.
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