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Troops to be best equipped at challenging China border: Ahir

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India will provide best equipment and facilities to its troops guarding the "challenging and sensitive" Sino-India frontier, Union minister Hansraj Ahir said, as he flagged off 29 brand new SUVs on Wednesday from here to be deployed at border posts of ITBP for patrolling and other operations.

The newly-appointed Minister of State for Home said it was the need of the hour to provide matching vehicles to Indian troops as provided by China to its men guarding the frontier.

"The border with China is considered very sensitive...a country like China which has time and again put us in trouble...it is standing like a challenge before us and you (ITBP) work there...," he said while flagging off 29 white-coloured Mahindra Scorpio border outpost (BoP) SUVs from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police headquarters here.

While speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Ahir said China has provided such facilities (to its forces) and the government will sanction more of such powerful vehicles to the mountain warfare trained force.

"This (providing Sports Utility Vehicles) is not a show off but it is a necessity...we should be full-fledged against China and when it comes to vehicles, we should not be less than China," he said.

This was the first public event of Ahir, under the Home Ministry charge, after he was appointed as the MoS Home earlier this month by the Modi government.

ITBP Director General Krishna Chaudhary said these vehicles, equipped with 4X4 wheel drive, power steering and turbo charge engine that survives sub-zero temperatures, will be exclusively used for operations, logistical tasks and casualty evacuation at high-altitude posts that are connected with roads.

ITBP has got trained a special team of drivers to drive these SUVs and it has cost the force about Rs four crore.

"These vehicles will not only help in fortifying our defences at the border but will also boost the morale of our personnel who serve in some of the harshest climatic areas in very low temperatures," the DG said.

He said the Scorpios have in-built heaters and will help troops in travelling in some warmth during heavy snow and blizzard-like conditions.

Out of the 29, 10 will be sent to BoPs in Ladakh, six each will go to forward areas in Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh, five to Uttarakhand and the last two will be sent to ITBP BoPs in Sikkim.

Ahir said for the first time, sanction for such costly and smart vehicles has been done by the government to build capacity for forces like ITBP which serve in hard areas.

He added these were only the "first lot" of vehicles for the 80,000 personnel strong force and many more such facilities will be provided to it in the future.

Few months back, four superior SUVs, two Toyota Fortuner and as many Ford Endeavour, with a price tag of around Rs 25 lakh each, had been deployed by the border guarding force at some of its forward locations over 13,000 ft above the sea level at Burtse and Dungti in the Ladakh sector and Menchuka, over 6,000 ft, in Arunachal Pradesh.

ITBP was raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese conflict and is tasked to guard the 3,488 km Sino-India frontier.

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India  China  Border  Troops  
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