India lives in the most “troubled neighbourhood” in the world, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Saturday and asked security forces to raise the vigil along the country’s borders.

“As I have always said, we live in perhaps the most troubled neighbourhood in the world.

“In this troubled neighbourhood there are countries with governments that are extremely fragile and all this increases the level of threat to our security and our defence,” he said at an investiture ceremony of the Border Security Force (BSF) here, which guards the country’s frontiers along Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Without taking the name of any of the neighbours, Mr. Chidambaram said “We therefore call upon all our security forces to defend our Independence, our sovereignty and our security.”

He also asked the central force, which has deployed about ten battalions (10,000 personnel) for anti-naxal operations in Chhattisgarh and Orissa, to undertake “intelligence based operations with minimum collateral damage” and supplement its work through a number of civic action programmes for the population in these areas.

The Home Minister assured the force that the government was firmly behind them and it “will provide them the best training, the best technology and the best working conditions.”

“We have done a lot in the last two-and-a half years. We provided them (central forces) more money than ever before, we brought more equipment in the last two-and-a-half years and we continue to buy equipment.

“We have provided better training in the last two-and-a-half years and we continue to expand our training,” he said.

Earlier, Chidambaram decorated 17 BSF personnel with the Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG) and 58 other officers and men with the Police Medal for Meritorious Service.

“We are with you and we remain with you,” Chidambaram said as he received a big applause from the personnel and families of the about 2 lakh personnel strong force.

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