11. Various Security Forces and Agencies and their mandate

There exist external and internal threats to a Country’s security and it tis through its different specialized forces that the threats are dealt with.

The external threats are often handled by the Armed Forces under the Ministry of Defense, while internal threats are managed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Security Forces

  1. Indian Armed Force
  2. Central Armed Police Force

Security Forces Dealing with External Threats

The defence forces (Indian Armed Force) is the primary force responsible for our nation’s security. They come under the purview of the Ministry of Defense. 

Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) too aid in combating external threats (they mainly manage internal security issues), but are managed by Ministry of Home Affairs.

Indian Armed Forces

The defense forces are divided into four sub-heads.

  1. Indian Army Personnel.
  2. Indian Air Force Personnel.
  3. Indian Navy Personnel.
  4. Indian Coast Guard Personnel.

Security Forces Dealing with Internal Threats

Security Forces

There are many divisions of Central Armed Police Force, which deal with internal threats.

Central Armed Police Force (CAPF)

  1. Assam Rifles (AR)
  2. Border Security Force (BSF)
  3. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
  4. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
  5. Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)
  6. National Security Guard (NSG)
  7. Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

1. Assam Rifles (AR)

  • Known as ‘Friends of the Hill People’, Assam Rifles, raised initially as Cachar Levy in 1835, it is the oldest paramilitary force in the country.
  • The Director General of the Assam Rifles (DGAR) is the head of the Assam Rifles.
  • The DGAR has their office in the Headquarters DGAR at Shillong.
  • The DGAR reports to the Minister of Home Affairs.
  • The Force has a dual role of maintaining internal security in the North Eastern region and guarding the Indo-Myanmar Border.
  • Their contribution towards assimilation of the North-East population into the national mainstream is truly monumental.
  • They perform many roles under the control of the army through the conduct of counter insurgency and border security operations.
  • They are also responsible for provision of aid to the civil power in times of emergency, and the provision of communications, medical assistance and education in remote areas.
  • During a war, they can also be used as a combat force to secure rear areas.
  • They serve as a helping hand for humanitarian causes and in natural calamities.
  • Undertaking development activities in the North-East by way of construction of roads and tracks, water supply schemes, schools, community halls, play grounds for village children and repair/ maintenance of buildings in the remote areas.

2. Border Security Force (BSF)

  • The Border Security Force (BSF) is the primary Border Guarding police force of India with headquarters at New Delhi.
  • It was raised in the wake of the 1965 War “for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected there with”.
  • Prior to this, India’s borders with Pakistan were manned by the State Armed Police Battalion.
  • Its operational responsibility is spread over the international borders of Pakistan and Bangladesh. BSF is also deployed on LoC in J&K under the Army’s operational control.
  • BSF has also played a very vital role in the Liberation of Bangladesh.
  • It currently stands as the world’s largest border guarding force.
  • BSF has been termed as the First Wall of Defense of Indian Territories.
  • BSF is the only Central Armed Police force to have its own Air Wing, Marine Wing and Artillery Regiments.
  • Three battalions of the BSF, located at Kolkata, Guwahati and Patna, are designated as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
  • These are equipped and trained for all natural disasters including combating Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) disasters.

3. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)

  • Raised in the year 1969, CISF is presently providing security cover to important installations like space and atomic energy establishments, sea ports, airports, coal mines, steel plants, thermal and hydel power plants, oil and petrochemicals installations, heavy industries, defence establishments, security presses, museums and historical monuments.
  • The specialized task of airport security was assigned to CISF in the wake of hijacking of Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar.
  • The charter of CISF has been expanded to provide security cover to VIPs as well as to provide technical consultancy services relating to security and fire protection to industries in public and private sectors.
  • After the Mumbai terrorist attack on November 2008, the mandate of the force has been broadened to provide direct security cover to private sector also by amending the CISF Act.

4. Central Reserve Police Force

  • Initially raised as Crown Representative Police in 1939 at Neemuch (MP), the Force was rechristened as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) post Independence.
  • The Force is presently handling a wide range of duties covering law and order, counter insurgency, anti-militancy and anti terrorism operations.
  • They play a key role in assisting States in maintaining public order and countering subversive activities of militant groups.
  • The Central Reserve Police Force is the largest of India’s Central Armed Police Forces.
  • It is also operating abroad as part of United Nations peacekeeping missions.

5. Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)

  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force was raised in the wake of India China conflict in 1962.
  • ITBP is a mountain trained Force. They are also known as “Himveer”.
  • Deployed from the north-western extremity of the Indo-China Border upto the tri-junction of India, China & Nepal covering mountainous terrains.
  • Presently, battalions of ITBP are deployed on border guard duties from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Diphu La in Arunachal Pradesh, on the India-China border.
  • ITBP plays an important role in organizing the annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra besides providing assistance in disaster management in the central and western Himalayan regions.
  • New challenging role that has emerged for ITBP is disaster management as it is the first point of response for natural Disaster in Himalayas.
  • ITBP is in the forefront of movement for the preservation of Himalayan environment & ecology.
  • Being the only human presence on forward areas, it has taken on itself the task of maintaining the delicate balance of flora and fauna.
  • ITBP conducts a large number of medical civic action programmes in remote border and terrorist affected areas to provide free and expert medical, health and hygiene care to the civilian population in remote villages.

6. National Security Guard

  • National Security Guard was raised in 1984, following Operation Blue Star and the assassination of Indira Gandhi, “for combating terrorist activities with a view to protect States against internal disturbances”.
  • It is an elite counter terrorism unit under the Min of Home Affairs.
  • It is a task oriented Force and has two complementary elements in the form of the Special Action Group (SAG) comprising Army personnel. The other being, Special Rangers Group (SRG) comprising personnel drawn from the Central Police/State Police Forces.
  • NSG personnel are also referred to as the “Black Cats”.
  • The NSG is trained to conduct counter terrorist tasks including counter hijacking tasks on land, sea, and air; Bomb disposal (search, detection and neutralization of IEDs); PBI (Post Blast Investigation) and Hostage Rescue missions.
  • In January 2020, the NSG was withdrawn from its task of VIP security.
  • The Force is not designed to undertake the functions of the State Police Forces or other Para Military Forces of the Union of India.

7. Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

  • Special Service Bureau (SSB) was set up in the early 1963 in the wake of India China conflict of 1962. Its aim was to build people’s morale and inculcate spirit of resistance against threats of subversion, infiltration and sabotage.
  • The Force has now been rechristened as Sashastra Seema Bal and its charter of duty has been amended.
  • It has now been given responsibility along the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan Borders.
  • It operates as a border guarding force and lead intelligence agency (LIA) for Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders.
  • Aims to promote sense of security among the people living in the border area.
  • To prevent trans-border crimes and unauthorized entries into or exit from the territory of India.
  • To prevent smuggling and other illegal activities.

Mandate of Various Security Forces and Agencies

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has multifarious responsibilities, important among them being internal security, management of para-military forces,border management, Centre-State relations, administration of Union Territories, disaster management, etc.

Article 355 of the Constitution enjoins the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the Government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Being entrusted with this task, it is the duty of the Centre to use its security agencies and protect India’s security and sovereignty.

Practice Questions

  1. Discuss the framework of the security forces in India. List the security agencies in India and their respective mandates.
  2. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is one of the premier Central Armed Police Forces of India (under the Ministry of Home Affairs) for internal security. Comment.
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