India’s Paramilitary Forces

“Paramilitary Forces” refers to three organisations which assist the Indian Armed Forces particularly closely and are led by officers of the Indian Army or Indian Navy. However, they have not been defined by any law or rules of the Government. Earlier, the term “paramilitary” forces was used for eight forces viz. Assam Rifles, Special Frontier Force, Indian Coast Guard,  CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF, SSB . However, from 2011, they have been regrouped into two classes whereby the later five are called Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

Paramilitary Forces

Thus, there are three paramilitary forces of India viz. Assam Rifles, Special Frontier Force and Indian Coast Guard. They come under Ministry of Defense.

Assam Rifles

Assam rifles is India’s oldest paramilitary force, raised originally in 1835 as Cachar Levy. They perform many roles including the provision of internal security under the control of the army through the conduct of counter insurgency and border security operations. Some Other Facts:

  • Assam Rifles is known as “Sentinels of the Northeast”.
  • Its headquarters are located at Laitkor (Shillong). The motto of Assam Rifles is “Friends of the Hill People”.
  • There are currently 46 battalions of Assam Rifles. While Assam Rifles functions under the Ministry of Defence, its administrative control is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • One battalion comprises around 1,000 personnel. Of the 46 battalions, 15 are deployed along the 1,643-km border.

Special Frontier Force

It was created in 1962 and was put under the direct supervision of the Intelligence Bureau, and later, under the Research and Analysis Wing. It was raised post Indo-China war to carry out covert operations behind Chinese Lines in a future Indo-China war, it actually never fought in China. However, it provided invaluable service in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

The commandos and officer of SPF are trained in four areas viz. Mountain, Amphibious, Air and Jungle warfare. SPF was also used in combating operation blue star. The SFF, along with the Special Protection Group (SPG) were the pioneers at close protection (CP) duties in India.

Indian Coast Guard

The mission of Indian Coast Guard is protection of India’s maritime interests and maritime law enforcement with jurisdiction over both territorial and international waters, including contiguous zone & exclusive economic zone. The Coast Guard works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy, Department of Fisheries, Department of Revenue (Customs) and the Central and State police forces.

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