What is the Border Security Force (BSF)?

Border Security Force

The Border Security Force (BSF) is a Border Guarding Force of India. Set up on December 1, 1965, it is a paramilitary force charged with guarding India’s land border during peace time and preventing transnational crime. It is a Union Government Agency ambit of the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs. It is one of law enforcement agency of India. It presently stands as the world’s largest border guarding force.

The BSF contributes every year a number of personnel for services for UN Mission. At the time of the Kargil conflict in May-July 1999, the BSF remained on the heights of the mountains and defended the integrity of the country with all the might at its command in unison with the Army. BSF personnel have been performing Internal Security Duty in Manipur and have been successfully fighting the insurgency in those regions.

At the time of the flood in Gujarat in 2017, BSF extends help to the distressed people in many areas & especially in Banaskantha. At the time of communal disturbances in Gujarat recently, BSF personnel went all out to restore amity and brotherhood among the people. The BSF took over the erection of the border fencing in Jammu & Kashmir and it was successful in its task despite all attempts of Pakistan to scuttle BSF efforts. The BSF has been defending the borders and checking infiltration on the borders in the current standoff with Pakistan and Bangladesh. BSF is deployed on LC with the Indian Army.

The Border Security Force has its Headquarters at New Delhi and is called as Force Headquarters (FHQ) headed by a Director General. Various Directorates like Operations, Communications & IT, Training, Engineering, General, Law, Provisioning, Administration, Personnel, Armaments, Medical, Finance etc. function under the DG. Each Directorate is lead by an IG. The Eastern Theatre is taken care by Spl DG HQ at Kolkata and the Western Theatre is looked after by Spl DG HQ at Chandigarh. Field Formations in BSF are lead by an IG and are known as Frontiers Headquarters (FtrHQ). There is 10 such Frontier under which Sector Headquarters (SHQ) function headed by a DIG each. There are 31 such Sectors. Each SHQ has under its command 4–5 Duty Battalions. Presently 186 Battalions are sanctioned to BSF. Five major training institutions and 10 Subsidiary Training Centres (STCs) are imparting ab-initio as well as in-service training to its ranks and other CPOs/SPOs including IPS Probationers.

BSF’s role during peacetime

  • To establish a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.
  • To avoid trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India.
  • To avoid smuggling and any other illegal activities on the Border.
  • Anti-infiltration work.
  • To collect trans-border intelligence.
  • BSF is widely employed for Internal Security Duties and other law and order duties on the requisition of the State Government.

BSF’s role during wartime

  • Holding ground in assigned sectors.
  • Limited aggressive action against irregular forces of the enemy (Though in 1971 war, several instances of battle with regular Army of Pakistan are also there. In Hot War Scenario, one has to fight whoever is pitched against you, regular or irregular.)
  • Maintenance of Law and Order in enemy territory administered under the Army’s control.
  • Guarding of Prisoners of War camps.
  • Acting as guides to the Army in border areas.
  • Assistance in control of refugees.
  • Provision of escorts.
  • Performing special tasks connected with intelligence including raids.
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