ITBP wants air support to patrol India-China border Published: Tuesday, Jul 5, 2011, 17:06 IST Place: Leh | Agency: PTI Mandated to guard the 4,057km long India-China border, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) wants air support for its troops operating at high altitude snow-covered terrains. A top ITBP official said a proposal in this regard has been sent to the Union home ministry and a formal approval was awaited. "We need three choppers to patrol along India-China border. A request has been sent to ministry of home affairs," ITBP DIG Ladakh sector Jaspal Singh told PTI. He said the choppers can be deployed to act as air ambulance, sending reinforcements and evacuating troops suffering from high altitude illness. ITBP guards 4,057km India-China border at Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim with its posts at some points being at a height of about 18,000 feet. ITBP personnel man border posts at altitudes ranging from 9,000 to 18,000 feet. Most of the forward posts remain cut off by road during winter months. The border posts are exposed to the fury and violence of the nature like snow blizzards, avalanches, landslides, besides the hazards of high altitude and extreme cold where temperature normally remains below minus 40 degrees Celsius. "Many of our men fall sick due to high altitude. The choppers will help us in ferrying them," another ITBP official said. ITBP, a force trained to fight in the mountains, at present takes the help of the Indian Army and Air Force to get choppers as and when the need arose. "We have been taking helicopters from the army and air force. They extend their help warmly. If we get our own choppers, it will help us," Singh said, adding that choppers are sometimes used to transport seriously ill persons from high altitude border posts to more hospitable areas. ITBP's four battalions (around 4,500 men), keep an eye on about 25 border outposts in the Ladakh region. The para-military force recently acquired sophisticated weapons and night-vision devices to help its men during patrol. "Government has been sanctioning necessary manpower and resources to the force. We have hospitals and training schools to help our men in combating high altitude related problems," a ITBP official said.