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Use intel to check terror designs along Nepal, Bhutan borders: HM to SSB

52nd anniversary parade of the Sashastra Seema Bal in New Delhi

New Delhi : Home Minister Rajnath Singh today asked the troops of border guarding force SSB to sharpen their snooping skills and ensure that terrorist groups are not able to “gather” or carry out their nefarious anti-India designs along borders with Nepal and Bhutan.

Addressing officers and jawans of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at the forces’ camp here on the occasion of their 52nd Raising Day, he said a robust and sharp intelligence system is the “most important weapon” along these sensitive two borders which are open and not fenced, keeping in view India’s friendly relations with them.

SSB was tasked to guard these frontiers more than a decade ago in 2001 after it’s control was taken out from the external intelligence agency RAW and entrusted to the Union Home Ministry.

“I have a firm belief that being a border guarding force you will be successful in stopping any type of anti-national and criminal activity along Nepal and Bhutan borders. You have had a speciality, that is your intelligence system. Based on your experiences and good work, you will have to make it (snoop capabilities) better so that this system is able to render a more important role in the near future.

“I believe that along the sensitive and open Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders, intelligence is the most important weapon for crime control. This force has to render exceptional service to not only render its new tasks but also keep in mind its duties it did before 2001,” he said indicating to the force to smartly gel its snooping skills with the task of border guarding.

The Home Minister said the paramilitary has to take special care and use its snoop machinery to check “unwanted activities on these two borders so that anti-social elements and terrorist groups are not able to gather there and are not able to carry out any untoward incident” against India.

As part of strengthening SSB’s intel mechanism, Singh said his ministry was “seriously” examining a latest proposal sent by the force to extend facilities to its “non-uniformed” cadres on par with the uniformed and armed component.

The about 80,000-personnel strong force has less than 3,000 men and women who render civic action work and help in spreading nationalistic values and messages amongst border population to counter anti-India propaganda.

There have been incidents in the past when these unarmed personnel were fatally targeted by insurgents and militants as they had no cover and facilities like that of the men in uniform.

While saluting the courage and dedication of these troops, Singh made a special mention of its martyred Second-in-Command rank officer Rajesh Shivrain who was killed in an air crash early this week when he co-piloting a BSF flight to Ranchi.

“I felt great pain…but no one can stop what is destined,” he said.

He lauded the force for carrying out its duties along these two borders with dedication as he said the task was difficult and required “special caution” considering there is much movement of people along the open frontiers and India has friendly relations with the two neighbours.

“You have done your job very well and in future it is expected that you will do this task while ensuring that our relations with Nepal and Bhutan get better and deeper,” he said.

The minister said SSB did a good job in checking human trafficking post the earthquake in Nepal and rendering their services for various welfare activities too.

The force not only guards the 1,751-km long Indo-Nepal and the 699-km Indo-Bhutan borders but is also designated as the lead intelligence gathering agency there.

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