BSF unlikely to swap Assam Rifles on Myanmar edge

Shillong: The BSF is unlikely to replace Assam Rifles to guard the Myanmar border, Assam Rifles Director General Lt Gen Rameshwar Roy said on Thursday.

Even as the Centre is yet to take a final call on the issue, Roy said, "There was less possibility" of the BSF replacing the Assam Rifles as his force "is identified with the ground, the people and the terrain".

"Discussions are going on. But I am sure ultimately it will be in our favour. Indications are such. It is because of the fact that Assam Rifles has domain knowledge about the people, terrain and complete operational situation in the Myanmar border," he said.

Roy said as Assam Rifles has been manning the 1640-km border for many years now, it would be difficult to replace it.

Asked how close to the border the Assam Rifles posts can be set up, Roy said, "It will depend on the infrastructure development. As the roads keep on developing towards the border, we will keep on going closer. We cannot sit in the jungle. It does not solve the problem."

"But with development of infrastructure, the troops will keep moving closer. The post at Moreh (Manipur) for example is bang on the border," he said.

Earlier, the Centre was considering deployment of the BSF along the Myanmar border.

India has 1,640 kilometres of border with Myanmar, manned by the Assam Rifles, and the dense forests in most parts make the border very vulnerable.

At present, most of the posts of the Assam Rifles are located well inside Indian territory and only a handful of posts are located near the zero line, which makes it easier for the militants to sneak into India easily.

Militant groups of the Northeast have hideouts in Myanmar and use the porous border for entering and moving out of the country.

The Assam Rifles was entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the border with Myanmar in 2002 and at that time, the strength of the force was 30 battalions.

Gradually, the strength of the force has been increased to 46 battalions. Twenty more battalions are being raised by the force, the country's oldest paramilitary force.

Assam Rifles, Roy said, has started raising an Inspector General headquarter at Silchar in Assam. Three sector headquarters would be set up at Dimapur (Nagaland), Haflong (Assam) and Senapati (Manipur).

"These were sanctioned because the force did not have enough headquarters for command control of the forces," the DG said.