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AR and ITBP Merger

Mains-GS2-Governance, Mains-GS3-Security

1. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) proposed a merger of the Assam Rifles (AR) with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to be served under the operational control of the MHA.

2. At present, the Assam Rifles is under the administrative control of the MHA and operational control of the Army, i.e. the Ministry of Defence. Army has opposed the proposal.

Assam Rifles

1. It was formed as Cachar Levy in 1835 to assist the British rulers in maintaining peace in the Northeast region.

2. After the 1962 India-China war, AR battalions were placed under the operational control of the Army.

3. Assam Rifles ensure the security of the India-China and Indo-Myanmar borders.

4. It is referred to as ‘Friends of the North East People’ and it is the highest awarded and decorated Para Military Force of the Republic of India.

ITBP

1. It is one of the Central Armed Police Forces of India. It was raised after the 1962 India-China war.

2. It is tasked to reorganize the frontier intelligence and security set up along the Indo-Tibetan border.

3. It also checks illegal immigration, trans-border smuggling, and crimes. It provides security to sensitive installations, banks, and protected persons.

Reasons for opposition

1. Indian Army has argued that the Assam Rifles should be merged with the Army to ensure national security.

2. At present, nearly 80% of officers’ ranks of Assam Rifles from Major upwards are held by Army officers on deputation. So, it will create bureaucratic issues.

Source- The Hindu