India shares international borders with seven countries extending to a massive 15,106 Kilometres which includes a totalitarian military nation in the form of Pakistan and a highly developed country in the form of China which possesses the third strongest military in the world. Not only this, but Indian borders are comprised of several distinct terrains ranging from lofty Himalayas to Thar Desert to marshy tracts in the Kutch, thus continuous monitoring along several challenging terrains becomes a necessity, while borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh require keeping a check on infiltration, open borders along Nepal and Bhutan provide a whole different challenge of keeping smuggling of weapons, fake currency and narcotics under check. Another serious challenge is posed in the form of domestic issues, i.e. Kashmiri Separatism and Maoism which has gripped almost the whole of Central India.
Under such adverse conditions, our paramilitary forces including BSF, SSB, and the ITBP stay on vigil 24/7 along the Indian borders under seriously challenging conditions ranging from frost biting region of North Eastern India where ITBP troops stay on continuous vigil to one of the warmest places on the planet, the Thar Desert where BSF officers stay on alert. Apart from this, CRPF has also served the country selflessly over all these years fighting out Kashmiri Separatism and Maoist insurgency. Though Indian Army is entitled to great respect, the fact remains that it is the paramilitary forces which actually remain on vigil throughout the year and in the event of a war they are the first to come in the firing line. Despite such momentous contributions the Governments and the citizens of our country have by far remained ignorant of their existence since Independence, here are some of the facts which go on to prove how we have actually mistreated those who make sure that we can sleep with safety back home.
Inferior Technology and Paucity of Resources:
According to the performance audit carried out by the Comptroller and Auditor General for the period from 2008-09 to 2013-14, the Union Home Ministry failed in fulfilling both the Office Building as well as the residential needs of the troops. Therefore, as against the authorized requirement of 2.99 lakh dwelling units, only 1.54 lakh dwelling units were available for the personnel. Therefore, we as a State have failed in providing houses to those who make sure that we remain safe in our houses.
Last Year, well, as many of us would have forgotten by now, a BSF plane crash took place in Dwarka in which 10 BSF personnel lost their lives. Apparently, the plane was more than 20 years old, its engine too had weakened over time. Thus, several governments over the last few decades have not bothered to update the technology of weapons and other equipment to be used by the Paramilitary troops, we as a country have in an unabashed manner made a serious compromise with their safety.
No Martyr Status for 68 years:
Even after more than 30,000 paramilitary officials have made the supreme sacrifice, the Government has over all these years has denied those who lay their lives while battling out as Jawans of these forces, the much deserved status of a martyr coordinate with that of the Defence Forces.
The Defence Forces deserve utmost respect of the citizens and serious attention of the Government given their present below par condition as far as ammunition and other facilities are concerned, but the fact remains that Paramilitary troops of India are presently suffering from greater inferiority of weapons and a deplorable condition as far as service conditions of its troops is concerned.
No Promotional Avenues beyond Inspector General:
Recruitment of Paramilitary troops is done at several ranks with the Assistant Commandant Exam being the highest rank of recruitment, interestingly those who serve in the Paramilitary Forces throughout their lives end up their careers at the rank of IG or below and despite having expertise in this field are never made chiefs of such forces, instead the IPS Officers having no practical experience of border patrolling and other such functions are made ADGs or DGs of these forces, it has the effect of compromising expertise at the top brass of such Forces and betrayal with the selfless Paramilitary Troops.
Citizens’ Ignorance and Dilemma: Is Paramilitary some sort of Army
As astonishing and absurd, it may sound a substantial portion of Indian Citizens are ignorant about the separate identity of Paramilitary troops from the Indian Army, with BSF and CRPF being somehow, the only identifiable paramilitary forces of India, most of us fail to notice the role that these heroes play in our lives and have a tough time differentiating between regular army and such troops. Such blatant and unprecedented ignorance of Paramilitary Forces’ contribution only serves as a great demoralization for these heroes.
The purpose of this Article was not to undermine the contribution of Defence Forces, which in fact, remains sacred and unquestionable but to bring to the fore, the unsung heroes of India who despite of making the supreme sacrifice go unnoticed both in mainstream Media as well as Social Platforms.
The functions of the Paramilitary Forces, are, indeed manifold, ranging from guarding the borders on a 24/7 basis, being pressed into service in event of any domestic disturbances, carrying out intelligence services and offering the significant line of defense in event of a war, as we saw in 1971 War, the Paramilitary Forces perform a plethora of function in a selfless manner, and that too with the most inferior of technology as far as ammunition is concerned.
The fact that we fail to provide proper housing to our Paramilitary Officials and that citizens are rather ignorant towards their existence reflects the most painful of realities of Modern day India.