Itanagar: The Indian Army’s 1st Arunachal Scouts battalion, two years after its formation, has taken charge of providing security to the unmanned, inhospitable and porous international border in the land-locked Himalayan state.
The battalion will help to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas, and will not only be eyes and ears, but also act as a force multiplier.
Arunachal Scouts is an infantry regiment with specialization in mountain warfare and was raised to defend India`s border with Tibet in Arunachal Pradesh.
Arunachal has the longest international boundary among the states in the country with 1,680 km – 160 km with Bhutan, 1,080 with China and 440 km with Myanmar.
Led by commanding officer in the rank of a colonel, the battalion reached its headquarters at Riyang on Sunday, 30 km from Pasighat, to do the most onerous duty – assisting Arunchalees, who have been serving as sentinels of the eastern frontier of the nation since the army suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Chinese in 1962.
The new battalion is born out of the Assam Regiment and will continue to be a part of the living symbol of martial strength and traditions of the Northeast.
Local recruits of the new force having inborn qualities will go a long way in ensuring the national integrity and will take the mantle of the other jawans to maintain vigilance in places that have varying altitudes from 1,500 feet to 2,400 feet of altitude from the sea level.
The proposal to raise the Arunachal Scouts along the lines of the illustrious Ladakh Scouts for defending the border with China was proposed by Governor J.J. Singh, a former army chief in 2008, who had pushed the proposal through Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Union Cabinet approved the proposal in 2009 and the 1st battalion was raised in 2010.
Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, who has been putting his weight behind the sanction of 2nd Arunachal Scouts Battalion, was the happiest man, when Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced its sanction in his address during the statehood Day celebration at Indira Gandhi Park here on February 20.
In fact, Antony had assured Arunachal Pradesh about raising three additional Arunachal Scouts Battalions with full preference to local youths.
He had given this assurance when a delegation comprising of late Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, Member of Parliament Takam Sanjoy along with high-ranking officials had called on him at his New Delhi office on July 9, 2010.