Govt okays dedicated air support for ITBP at China border

Discussion in 'Internal Security' started by Srinivas_K, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    Govt okays dedicated air support for ITBP at China border

    NEW DELHI: Government has approved dedicated air support for ITBP to help the force take on superior infrastructure capabilities of China on the Sino-Indian border. Home ministry has approved and allocated funds for leasing of two choppers which will be under the exclusive command of ITBP for rescue- reconnaissance operations on the border.

    Until now, the border force was dependent on Indian Air Force for air support to maintain its outposts and rescue the sick or injured from the inhospitable heights of Himalayas where it is posted through the year. For various reasons, IAF choppers are not always available to ITBP.

    TOI was the first to report (on October 1) that home ministry was pushing for dedicated air support for the force following the Chumur-Dhemchok faceoff with Chinese army in September.


    READ ALSO: To take on China, ITBP may get dedicated air support


    Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju told Parliament, "With a view to provide dedicated air support to Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the government has accorded approval to ITBP for wet leasing of two light helicopters to meet its operational air support requirements in J&K and Uttarakhand through tendering process. The total expenditure likely to be incurred for wet leasing of two helicopters is approximately Rs 40 crore per annum."

    The minister added, "Besides, dedicated air support is provided to ITBP through BSF MI-17 helicopters as well as IAF helicopters based on the availability of helicopters to meet the operational requirement of the force on Indo-China border." ITBP maintains posts on the upper reaches going up to 18,000 feet.

    Although the provision falls short of ITBP expectations of getting MI-17 specification choppers, the force is happy that its immediate needs would now not be slave to availability of IAF choppers. Also the choppers would help it conduct surveillance of the border.



    The minister also informed the House about other infrastructure enhancing steps being taken by the government. This included opening up of 22 of 35 newly sanctioned border outposts for ITBP and expected operationalization of the rest by 2016. He also said the government had approved 123 mobile towers on the Sino-Indian border to improve connectivity and to help in border vigil.

    "The critical infrastructure in the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh are also being strengthened to enhance troop's mobility and border security in those areas," the minister said.

    Govt okays dedicated air support for ITBP at China border - The Times of India
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Dedicated air support, in this case, would be what exactly? CASEVAC? Supplying food? I am sure they are not going to approve gunships. That is one way to escalate things quickly.
     
  4. Kshatriya87

    Kshatriya87 Senior Member Senior Member

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    What kind of helicopters?
     
  5. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    Apaches, LCH and Rudras !!
     
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  6. Kshatriya87

    Kshatriya87 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Air Support for ITBP: MHA squandering tax-payers money » Indian Defence Review


    It was reported in the Times of India that – “Dedicate air support for ITBP gets govt nod”. The Government’s decision to acquire helicopters for the ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police) is questionable on a number of counts. The reasons given for this acquisition are specious, scruffy and not substantive. To state that the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters are not always available for “maintenance of ITBP outposts and for rescue of the sick or injured from the inhospitable heights of Himalayas where it is posted through the year”, is derogatory and undermines the credibility of the IAF. The IAF should rebut and strongly repudiate this grossly false accusation.


    To state that the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters are not always available for ITBP…, is derogatory and undermines the credibility of the IAF.

    It is important to understand that the planning for working out the maintenance effort to be provided by the IAF is undertaken well before the commencement of a financial year. Demands from all agencies are sought and considered. The requirement for fixed wing (both air dropped and air landed) and helicopter effort is then earmarked depending on the serviceable helicopter fleet available. All demanding agencies are thereafter informed well in advance of the distribution of this effort. A monthly schedule is prepared and is adhered to. Any shortage in despatch of loads due to weather or any other reason is made up in the next month by diverting additional effort. The planned schedule may be disrupted due to unforeseen situations like natural calamities of cloud bursts, floods or earthquake when the helicopter effort is to be diverted elsewhere. In such an eventuality all the agencies that were demanding are equally affected including the Army. All forward outposts also hold a reserve stock for adverse weather and an additional maintenance reserve.

    Evidently ITBP lacks such administrative standard operating procedures. A point in time the Army too had contemplated on leasing helicopters when the IAF was in a tight situation with regards to major deficiencies in its helicopter fleet. However, this option was ruled out because the outposts that require such maintenance are in sensitive forward areas where civilian pilots would not be allowed to operate. Thus the “maintenance of outposts” cannot be given as any reason for acquiring helicopters.

    The second reason given is that helicopters are not available for “rescue of sick and injured”. On humanitarian grounds the IAF helicopters are made available for search and rescue of civilian and foreign mountaineering expeditions involved in any accident or suffering any casualties due to calamitous weather conditions. Thus, for the ITBP to ‘accuse’ the IAF for not responding to such a demand is ridiculous and grossly false. Let the IAF put out the facts as to the number of times that ITBP asked for air effort to evacuate casualties and the number of times it could not be provided for reasons of adverse weather conditions and or otherwise. Such accusations in the media must be rebutted publically and the IAF cannot be acquiescent about it.


    It is generally known that for every hour of flying a helicopter requires three to four times that for maintenance.

    In a similar case earlier, MHA’s had acquired six Mi- 8 helicopters for the Border Security Force (BSF) some years back. There was, however, no supporting regular maintenance set up existing nor were provision of spares for their life span of these machines undertaken. As a matter of fact there were no pilots too. Initially Russian pilots were employed on a hefty salary, but later IAF pilots were sought for on tenure of deputation. The deputation allowance was a pittance in comparison to what had been paid to the Russian pilots, as a result no pilot accepted this offer and thus the helicopters could not be utilised.

    It is generally known that for every hour of flying a helicopter requires three to four times that for maintenance. As a result after a while these six helicopters were parked unworthy of flying in the hangers at Safdarjung airfield. Apparently the decision was a hasty one and taken in a huff by the babus seeking a way out for their comfort. The BSF also acquired an Embraer ten-seater passenger jet parked permanently at the Palam airport. In fact these helicopters and aircraft are used by the Home Minister and the babus of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). In 2006, I had on one occasion, representing the Military Operations Directorate, accompanied the then Home Secretary on a visit to Srinagar in connection with certain ongoing Counter Terrorist/Counter Insurgency operations. It is certain that the Army will not permit civilian helicopters piloted by civilians in the sensitive forward areas. It is thus evident that the ITBP is being used only as an excuse to wet lease helicopters for the ease and comfort of the Home Minister and his babus.


    The civil bureaucracy in the MHA has this penchant for matching the armed police forces with the Armed Forces as if in competition.

    At this rate soon a similar demand will be put up by BSF, National Disaster Management Authority NDMA) and even Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for helicopters dedicated for their respective forces. It would tantamount to creating a full-fledged air wing for each of these forces. Such a measure will be an utter waste of the tax-payers money. The civil bureaucracy in the MHA has this penchant for matching the armed police forces with the Armed Forces as if in competition. Such whimsical fancies are detrimental to the security of the nation and a waste of tax payer’s money.

    If it is felt that the IAF requires additional helicopters to meet the requirements of all other government establishments then go ahead and acquire these for the IAF. With it increase the manpower which will be necessitated for maintenance. To have ‘private’ air wings for border guarding forces or central police forces will be an ill considered decision and a gross wastage of the tax payers’ money.
     
  7. Kshatriya87

    Kshatriya87 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Double post.
     

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