Question – What is Paramilitary Force? How were they useful in the security of the country? Discuss desired improvements. – 4 September 2021
Answer – What is Paramilitary Force?
- Armed police forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, known as Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), such as Assam Rifles (AR), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG) and Border Security Force (SSB). They functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi. Though the Assam Rifles (AR) is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, its operational control is with the Ministry of Defence. Out of the CAPFs, AR, BSF, ITBP and SSB are the Border Security Force NSG is a commando trained force in India and is used for special operations. CISF provides safety and security to industrial undertakings and critical installations. The CRPF is deployed to assist the civilian power in matters relating to maintenance of law and order, internal security and counter militancy. The CAPF is headed by an officer of the rank of Director General of Police.
- The paramilitary force is organized like an army, and performs civilian or military functions. The Central Armed Police Forces (commonly referred to as paramilitary forces) play an important role in border security as well as internal security. The Ministry of Home Affairs manages seven central police forces that assist in internal security and law and order.
Role of paramilitary force in ensuring internal security:
- Assam Rifles (AR): Established in 1835, the AR is the oldest of all paramilitary forces. The AR’s job is to counter insurgency and conduct border security operations in the northeastern regions of India. Since 2002, they have been guarding the 1,643 km long Indo-Myanmar border.
- Border Security Force: Established in 1965, their main role is to monitor international borders against infiltration and assist the Indian Army in times of war, to check infiltration along the borders. During the Kargil war in May-July 1999, the BSF remained at the heights of the mountains and defended the integrity of the country under its command along with the Army.
- Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF): The CRPF looks after the internal security of every part of India. It counters Left Wing extremism, assists state and union territories in police operations to maintain law and order. The CRPF guarded the India-Pakistan border till 1965, after which the BSF was created. In the 2001 Parliament attack, it was the CRPF contingent that killed the terrorists who entered the premises.
- Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP): ITBP was established after the Indo-China War of 1962 to reorganize border intelligence and security along the Indo-Tibetan border and to check illegal immigration and cross-border smuggling. In 2004, the entire part of the India-China border was assigned to the ITBP for border guarding duty, to achieve “One Border One Force”, and accordingly, the ITBP replaced the Assam Rifles in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
- National Security Guard (NSG): It was raised in the 1980s to counter terrorist activities and ensure that the states do not witness any internal disturbances.
- Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB): Established in 1963, the SSB guards the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders. The 2450 km long Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan border is more challenging as the open border not only provides an attractive incentive to smugglers, but also provides huge opportunities for trained terrorists on foreign soil to infiltrate and pose a serious threat to national security.
These paramilitary forces act as our first line of defense against security threats to India and hence their smooth coordination, communication and functioning is of vital importance, for which the government should provide necessary mechanisms and platforms. In addition, these forces need to be upgraded and trained to face new forms of challenges like cyber warfare, technological, space warfare, making them ready for any such eventuality.
Defense Reforms under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan:
- Increase in the sectoral cap of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) (automatic approval) from the current 49% to 74%.
- A negative list for import of defense equipment into India.
- A separate capital budget for the purchase of indigenous weapons.
- Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), and Corporation of Defense Procurement.
It is very clear that the country of India has resolved to fight the menace of separatist elements and has shown willpower to maintain ‘law and order’ throughout the country, so that every citizen gets equal opportunity for development and progress. These efforts need support from all sections and in all forms. It is the constitutional responsibility of the Armed Forces to effectively deal with internal threats arising from various sources, which are destroying the strength and territorial integrity of the country as well as the will power. Armed forces also respond quickly in case of natural calamities like floods, epidemics or industrial disasters. However for easy and effective deployment and reliable results in internal security situations, there is a need to augment the special units of the Armed Forces and be given special weapons and special powers, as ‘dealing with extraordinary situations requires extraordinary measures’!