The Border Security Force (BSF) has been effectively thwarting the growing challenges of infiltration, drugs and arms smuggling and the menace of drones from across the border, Union minister Nityanand Rai said here on Sunday.
He was speaking while officiating as the chief guest of the 58th Raising Day parade of the force, the country's largest border guarding force with 2.65 lakh personnel, held in the campus of the Guru Nanak Dev University here, roughly 30 km from the India-Pakistan International Border that runs along Punjab.
The Union minister of state for home affairs also said that women personnel are increasingly being engaged in various duties being rendered by the force, which is reflective of the women empowerment vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The increasing challenges of infiltration, smuggling of narcotics and arms and the activity of drones are being effectively dealt with by the BSF and it has been continuously thwarting these attempts along our border, Mr. Rai said.
The minister did not specify the front but it is understood that he was referring to the India-Pakistan border running along this state.
The India-Pakistan International Border runs from Jammu in the north to Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat on the western flank of the country.
"Your (BSF) presence along the borders ensures that there is peace in the country and you have kept the front safe for the last 57 years," he said.
The minister said the BSF was being provided smart surveillance gadgets like radars and anti-drone guns.
BSF Director General Pankaj Kumar Singh, in his address, said the force has shot down a total of 17 drones along the India-Pakistan front (16 along Punjab and one along Jammu border) this year even as it is taking the help of DRDO and other scientific research organisations to detect underground tunnels that are used by terrorists to infiltrate into the country.
He underlined the growing menace of drugs from across the Pakistan front, saying the force seized more than 500 kgs of narcotics from these areas over the last year.
Congress MP from Amritsar Gurjeet Singh Aujla, local public representatives, Punjab government officials and officers from defence and intelligence agencies were present during the event.
The BSF was raised on December 1, 1965 and it is primarily tasked to guard international borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
It has 193 operational battalions spread across the two borders and some other field formations deployed to render other internal security duties in the hinterland.
The force guards a total of 6,386 km of the Indian land border on the western flank (over 2,724 km of India-Pakistan international border and some parts of the LoC) and along the eastern front (more than 4,096 km of India-Bangladesh border).