Indian Defence

ITBP: The Guardian Of Himalayas

You must have also been confused after seeing ITBP on many occasions like Civil Medical Camp to Disaster Management. Right! And this confusion will make you curious that what is ITBP and what does it do. How to join ITBP? And lastly How ITBP personals are selected and trained?

ITBP stands for Indo-Tibetan Border Police. It is one part of the seven central armed police forces (CAPFs) of India. In 1962, ITBP was established as India’s leading border patrol organization for its border with China & Tibet. That’s why ITBP troops are known as Himveers or Guardians of the Himalayas. The motto of ITBP is – Shaurya – Dridhata – Karm Nishtha (Valor – Steadfastness, and Commitment).

During Indo china standoff 2020, ITBP personnel safeguard Ladakh as a part of the operation Snow leopard along with the Army. Apart from that, they conducted various special ops in Eastern Ladakh In fact for that 260 ITBP personnel were awarded for ops in Eastern Ladakh.

History of ITBP


After the Sino-Indian War, the Indian government established the ITBP in 1962 to patrol the 3488 km border with China. During the Indo-Sino war, Chinese troops entered Indian territory and when the Indian army tried to push them back the conflict started. Consequently, China consolidates its position in Aksai Chin (Indian territory) and advances to the 1960 claim line. If there was ITBP on the LAC at that time, then during the patrolling of ITBP Troops, the infiltration of China would have been detected and the 1962 war would have been avoided. And even today one of the credits for not having such conflicts between India and China since 1962 also goes to ITBP.

Currently, ITBP troops are deployed on border guard duties from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Diphu La of Arunachal Pradesh, covering 3,488 km of the LAC. Manned border posts are at altitudes as high as 21,000 feet (6,400 m).there the temperature plummets to minus 30 degrees during winter with snowfall of more than ten feet. Initially, ITBP has only 4 battalions but now 60 battalions with 15 sectors and 5 frontiers as of 2018. Apart from patrolling on LAC, the roles of ITBP is changed now. Presently, the ITBP The ITBP is trained in the Civil Medical Camp, disaster management, and nuclear, biological, and chemical disasters.

Organizational Structure

89,432 active ITBP personnel of 60 battalions are operated within 2 commands. ITBP has 2 commands at Guwahati and Chandigarh, both of which are headed by an ADG rank cadre officer. The headquarters of ITBP is located in New Delhi. IG Balbir Singh was appointed as the first head of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Inspector General Balbir Singh had earlier also served in the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

ITBP's Organisational Structure
ITBP’s Organisational Structure

Roles of ITBP

ITBP is a multi-dimensional paramilitary force that primarily has 5 roles-

  1. Alertness along the northern borders, detection and prevention of border breaches, and promoting a feeling of security among the local communities.
  2. Check illegal immigration and trans-border smuggling.
  3. Provide security to sensitive installations of governments such as airports, nuclear power plants, metro, etc, and threatened VIPs
  4. Restore and preserve order in case of disturbances in any area.
  5. To maintain peace.

There is also a commando unit of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police which was deployed to protect the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan. Apart from this, two companies of the same Paramilitary Force were given the responsibility of protecting BRO personnel for the ongoing construction projects in Afghanistan before the Taliban invasion.
This force does many other things including peace operations in many countries outside India. It has been deployed for UN peacekeeping operations in many other countries including Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Western Sahara, and Sudan. Further than that 2 battalions of it are appointed for National Disaster Response Force.

Water-wing of ITBP

The Water Wing of ITBP was formed in August 2011, with a strength of over 125 personnel headed by a commandant. It is liable for patrolling the riverine borders of the Himalayan areas. It includes the Brahmaputra river in Arunachal Pradesh, Pangong Tso Lake, and the Indus River in Ladakh. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police also has 30 boats from which patrolling of riverine areas is done.

Gallantry Awards

Name of AwardNumbers
Padma Shree6
Kirti Chakra2
Shaurya Chakra6
Sena Medal1
President’s Police Medals for Gallantry19
Police Medal for Gallantry92
President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service101
Police Medal for Meritorious Service292
Prime Minister’s Life-Saving Medal86
Gallantry Awards of ITBP

Challenges against ITBP

The ITBP troops face many challenges during their duty. Apart from the adversary, the biggest challenge is the inhospitable terrain also. The sloping hills of the Himalayas and the snow on them can prove to be the deadliest. There are various threats such as high-velocity storms, avalanches, landslides, and snow blizzards. Apart from the dangers of altitude & extreme cold, where the temperature drops to minus 40 degrees Celcius. Also, there is always a risk of floods due to heavy rains and cloudbursts in hilly areas.

At the same time, driving on the winding roads made by cutting the mountains, in which there is a deep valley or ditch on the other side, is also dangerous. Recently a bus of ITBP fell uncontrollably into the deep gorge due to brake failure. Out of the ITBP Soldiers on board, 7 gave their supreme sacrifice while 32 ITBP Troops along with 2 J&K Police Personnel were also injured. All these troops were returning after completing their Amarnath Yatra duty.

Training of Indo-Tibetan Border Police

The ITBP is a mountain-trained force with the most professionally trained mountaineers and skiers officers and troops. The Basic Training Centre at Bhanu, Haryana. The training program for Subordinate Officers of the force is conducted at Central Training College Alwar and Basic Training College, Bhanu (Haryana). Specialized training programs in rock craft, explosives handling, etc. are also conducted at ITBP academy at Mussoorie. The Mountaineering & Skiing Institute at Auli runs the training programs and conducts indoor and outdoor training activities, in chase of this mission. The veterinary wing soldiers of ITBP are skilled in “Yak handling and Management”, at ICAR-National Research Institute on Yak. Yaks are used by ITBP for transportation and essential items. Apart from this, ITBP is making a full-fledged recreation and training center in Belgaum at Halbhavi. The CIJW school at Belgaum also provides the best climate for recreation. The CIJW school gives training to ITBP’s troops and officers in anti-Naxal Operations. Jungle warfare, handling of explosives, rock craft, survival in hostile conditions, unarmed fighting, and guerrilla warfare techniques are also taught here.

Advanced Weapons & Equipment

ITBP Snipers with Sniper Rifle
  1. Carl Gustov 84mm recoil-less rifle
  2. SSG-69 sniper rifle
  3. MAG 2A1 medium machine gun
  4. 81mm mortars
  5. MAG 2A1 Medium Machine Gun
  6. ARSENAL AR-M1 Assault Rifle
  8. AKMS Assault Rifle
  9. Pistol 9mm 1A
  10. INSAS Assault Rifle
  11. Ghatak Assault Rifle

Community Activities

Along with the security of the country, this security force has set a high record in many other fields such as international mountaineering. The tricolor has been hoisted 5 times on Mount Everest and on several international mountain peaks including Kanchenjunga Peak. On 10th & 12th May 1992, 8 mountaineers including a woman police officer of this security force created history by climbing Mount Everest.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police Hockey team

The Indo-Tibetan police force also has an Ice Hockey team. It is considered one of the strongest in the country with many of its players being part of the national team. This team has won the Indian Ice Hockey Championship on at least three occasions including most recently in 2019. The world record for the ‘Longest River Rafting Expedition’ is also in the name of Tarun Kumar Banerjee and the ITBP team.

Women in Indo-Tibetan Border Police

Recently, on India’s 75th independence day anniversary ITBP conducted an all-woman border patrol at 17,000 feet. Joshimath-based first battalion of ITBP runs a week-long patrolling at such a high altitude on LAC. ITBP started the deployment of Women Personnel at Border Outposts of High-Altitude Remote Areas in 2016 itself. Today, the force has close to 2,500 women in its rank.
Last year, 53 officers passed out from ITBP Training Academy located in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand. Out of these, 2 women officers Prakirti & Divya also took the oath of service to the country by completing the training of Assistant Commandants, and Entry-Level Officers in Paramilitary. These are the first two women officers to be conducted for a combat role in ITBP. Earlier there were combat women only in the Constabulary ranks.
ITBP is the only security force in India that has a female sniper unit. And this female sniper unit named “Jhansi Ki Rani” protects the LAC.

How To Join The ITBP

A department of UPSC conducts the recruitment process for ITBP under the Ministry of Home affairs. The Central armed police forces (CAPF) exam is held for the recruitment of assistant commandants.

This national-level exam is held annually once. Which notification is published by the ITBP on its official website before the exam. Both Man and female candidates can apply for ITBP. This exam is conducted for all Central armed police forces. This exam is conducted for all the Central Armed Police Forces. ITBP also releases jobs according to the need of its posts. It is the year-wise vacancy numbers for the last 5 years of ITBP.

Year of RecruitmentITBP Vacancies
202120 (13 backlog vacancies)
ITBP last 5 years vacancies for assistant commandant

The steps in the selection process of ITBP are as follows –

  • Written Exam – 2 Papers
  • Physical Standard Test (PST)
  • Physical Efficiency Test (PET)
  • Typing Test
  • Interview
  • Document Verification
  • Medical Test

Read Also:- CoBRA Commandos: The Jungle Warriors


Prem Prakash

I am a defence lover with the skill of writing, not firing.

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