New Delhi: A large number of security forces deployed along the borders with Pakistan, Bangladesh have been sent for the ongoing general election security leaving the Indian borders open and vulnerable.
According to Government officials, BSF troops from the counter-insurgency operations in Manipur is also in short of soldiers.
As many as 465 BSF companies each having 140 troops totaling it to 65,000 men have been deployed for election security.
35 of these BSF companies were sent for Jammu and Kashmir and 430 for other states for election duty.
A minimum of 2 to 3 companies have been taken out from most of the 192 BSF battalions which also includes a battalion’s training company which is at the disposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and operationally deployed companies as well.
Battalions that have thinned out are deployed in critical locations such as Kashmir (20 approximately), Line of Control (around 15), International Border with Pakistan (around 56) and Bangladesh border (around 80) according to sources.
This drastic change in deployment along the western border could prove dangerous to India amidst military tensions between India and Pakistan, following the February 14 Pulwama terrorist attack.
Not only there is thinning of BSF troops along the Pakistan border but there is also a massive thinning of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China which also alarming as more than 200 ITBP companies have been sent for election duty.
“BSF deployment has been thinned out from J&K, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat and from the Bangladesh border. This means more tasks, including larger area of-of responsibilities and overwork for the units that are presently deployed at the borders,” said the government official.
Officials pointed out that BSF is already suffering from a shortfall of close to 17,000 non-officer rank soldiers. “Each battalion has a strength of about 1,200, so a shortfall of 17,000 means there are vacancies equivalent to about 14 battalions,” said another official, adding there is also a need for 388 more officers.
Meanwhile, a ministry official has confirmed about the thinning of the deployed forces along the borders but said the forces are back on the security duty but refrained from giving the exact numbers of troops who have returned to duty.