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Indian Govt to set up intelligence gathering posts along China border

MAGO, ARUNACHAL PRADESH  (PTI): Border posts of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) along the India-China frontier from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh will have an additional team of intelligence officers for surveillance and information gathering.

A highly placed source said the central government has approved a proposal for establishing the set-up that will be known as the Border Intelligence Post (BIP).

The move bears significance in view of the increased Chinese activities along the border and transgressions by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA).

A stand-off between the Indian Army and the PLA in Ladakh has been going on since June 2020.

Each of the BIPs will be manned by four-five officials of the Intelligence Bureau and protected by ITBP personnel, the source in the know of the development said on the condition of anonymity.

Those personnel who would be deployed at the BIPs will keep an eye on activities across the border and share updates with the higher authorities and the government.

The source, however, refused to disclose the amount sanctioned by the central government for the project citing its sensitive nature.

Mago is the first village close to the border with China in the Chuna sector in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang district.

An all-terrain motorable road was built in the village only in 2020.

There are around 180 border outposts (BOPs) of the ITBP along the entire India-China border and the establishment of 45 more was sanctioned recently.

Twenty Army soldiers were killed in a clash with the PLA in June 2020 in Ladakh's Galwan Valley.

On December 9 last year, PLA troops intruded in Yangste in Arunachal Pradesh which led to a clash between the soldiers of the neighbouring countries and resulted in injuries to both sides.

Since the India-China border is not fully demarcated, both sides have different perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

There have been reports of PLA troops often transgressing the disputed areas.

Speaking at a function here on Monday, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said a country is safe when its borders are safe.

"Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, not a single village is left where vehicles can't reach. These border villages were neglected earlier. I also assure you that in the next six months, all border villages in Arunachal Pradesh will have 5G mobile phone connectivity," said Rijiju, who represents the Arunachal West constituency in the Lok Sabha.

In the last few years, the central government has not only ramped up its infrastructure at the LAC but also introduced schemes for the development of border villages.

Among these is the Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) under which all-round development of select frontier villages is carried out

"The highest number of villages among all states will be developed in Arunachal Pradesh under the VVP. Out of the 665 villages selected under the VVP, 453 are in Arunachal in first phase," Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said at the function.

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