Border Security Force
|Border Security Force|
Emblem of the Border Security Force
|Motto||जीवन पर्यन्त कर्तव्य (Duty Unto Death)|
|Formed||1 December, 1965|
|Employees||257,363 active personnel|
|Annual budget||₹19,650.74 crore (US$2.8 billion) (2019–20 est.)|
|Governing body||Ministry of Home Affairs (India)|
|Headquarters||New Delhi, India|
|Parent agency||Ministry of Home Affairs|
|Planes||22 aircraft (as of 2009)|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Border Security Force (BSF) is the border police organisation of India. It is one of the seven Central Armed Police Forces of India, and was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965, "for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected there with". It is a Central Armed Police Force charged with guarding India's land border during peacetime and preventing transnational crime at the same, it has various active roles during an outbreak of war. It is a Union Government Agency under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs. The BSF has its own cadre of officers but its head, designated as a Director-General (DG), since its raising has been an officer from the Indian Police Service. It is an Armed Force of the Union of India tasked with various assignments from time to time. The BSF has grown exponentially from a few battalions in 1965, to 186 battalions with a sanctioned strength of 257,363 personnel including an expanding air wing, marine wing, an artillery regiment, and commando units. It currently stands as the world's largest border guarding force. BSF has been termed as the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories.
From independence in 1947 to 1965, the protection of India's international boundaries was the responsibility of local police belonging to each border state, with little inter-state coordination. BSF was created as a Central government-controlled security force to guard all of India's borders, thus bringing greater cohesion in border security. BSF is charged with guarding India's land border during peacetime and preventing transnational crime. It is a Union Government Agency under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is one of many law enforcement agencies of India. It currently stands as the world's largest border guarding force.
- Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
- Operation Blue Star
- Operation Black Thunder
- Counter-Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir
- Operation Vijay – Kargil War
- 2001 Bangladeshi-Indian border skirmishes
- 2001–2002 Operation Prakarm – India-Pakistan Standoff
- 2013 India-Pakistan Border skirmishes
- 2014–15 India–Pakistan border skirmishes
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the border management system was in the hands of the individual state police forces, and these proved incapable of properly dealing with border threats. Following these episodes, the government created the Border Security Force as a unified central agency with the specific mandate of guarding India's international boundaries. K F Rustamji, from the Indian Police Service, was the first Director General of BSF. Since it was a new force, the officers had to be deputed or inducted from outside to fill the various vacancies at various levels until the force’s own cadre gets matured enough. Keeping in mind the above, emergency commissioned officers and SS officers of the Indian Army were inducted in large numbers in the force along with IPS officers who were deputed to the force for high level appointments. Till 1965 India's borders with Pakistan were manned by the State Armed Police Battalion. Pakistan attacked Sardar Post, Chhar Bet, and Beria Bet on 9 April 1965 in Kutch. This exposed the inadequacy of the State Armed Police to cope with armed aggression due to which the Government of India felt the need for a specialized centrally controlled Border Security Force, which would be armed and trained along the lines of the army, to man the International Border as well as the Line Of Control (Under Army Operations) with Pakistan. As a result of the recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries, the Border Security Force came into existence on 1 Dec 1965 with K F Rustamji as its first Director General.
The BSF's capabilities were used in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 against Pakistani forces in areas where the Regular Forces were thinly spread; BSF troops took part in several operations including the famous Battle of Longewala. In fact, for BSF the war on eastern front had started well before the war actually broke out in Dec '71. BSF had trained, supported and formed part of "Mukti Bahini" and had entered erstwhile East Pakistan before the actual hostilities broke out. BSF had played a very important role in Liberation of Bangladesh which Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman had also acknowledged.
The BSF, long considered a male bastion, has now deployed its first batch of women personnel at the border to carry out regular frisking of women as well as other duties. Presently woman troops are deployed at various borders. The BSF also has started induction of women at the officer level as well.
List of DGs of BSF
|Sr No.||Name||Period (From)||Period (To)|
|25||V K Johri||1 September 2019||Present|
|24||Rajni Kant Mishra||1 October 2018||31 August 2019|
|23||Pal Saurabh Ramsajeevan||19 July 2004||30 September 2018|
|22||Pal Anjali Ramsajeevan||01 Jan 1999||28 Feb 2016|
|21||Pal Ramsajeevan Jaishree||01 Dec 2012||28 Feb 2014|
|20||U K Bansal||01 Nov 2011||30 Nov 2012|
|19||Raman Srivastava||01 Aug 2009||31 Oct 2011|
|18||M L Kumawat||01 Oct 2008||31 Jul 2009|
|17||A K Mitra||27 Feb 2006||30 Sep 2008|
|16||R S Mooshahary||10 Jan 2005||27 Feb 2006|
|15||Ajay Raj Sharma||01 Jul 2002||31 Dec 2004|
|14||Gurbachan Jagat||30 Nov 2000||30 Jun 2002|
|13||E N Rammohan||04 Dec 1997||30 Nov 2000|
|12||A K Tondon||01 Oct 1996||04 Dec 1997|
|11||Arun Bhagat||04 Dec 1995||01 Oct 1996|
|10||D K Arya||01 Feb 1994||04 Dec 1995|
|09||Prakash Singh||09 Jun 1993||31 Jan 1994|
|08||T Ananthachary||01 Aug 1991||31 May 1993|
|07||H P Bhatnagar||01 Aug 1987||31 Jul 1991|
|06||M C Mishra||01 Oct 1984||31 Jul 1987|
|05||Birbal Nath||02 Oct 1982||30 Sep 1984|
|04||K Rama Murti||01 Dec 1980||31 Aug 1982|
|03||Sharawan Tondon||01 Jan 1979||30 Nov 1980|
|02||Aswini Kumar||01 Oct 1974||31 Dec 1978|
|01||Khusro Faramurz Rustamji||21 Jul 1965||30 Sep 1974|
Wagah Border Flag Lowering Ceremony
Every evening, at the Wagah border, which is the international border of India and Pakistan, the BSF together with the neighbouring country's border guarding, the Pakistan Rangers conduct a military drill while lowering the respective national flags. This attracts a good number of spectators from both countries, as well as international tourists. Similar parades are being organised at Mahavir/Sadqi border near Fazilka and Hussainiwala/Gandasinghwala border near Firozpur.
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Although originally charged with guarding India's external boundaries, the BSF has more recently been given the task in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in Jammu And Kashmir, Punjab, and the Northeastern Seven Sister States. While in Punjab BSF took Part in operations like Blue Star, Black Thunder 1 & 2 till 1989 and when the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir broke out in 1989, the BSF handover the Counter Insurgency Operations to CRPF and Punjab Police and moved towards state of Jammu & Kashmir. In Jammu and Kashmir state police and the thinly-deployed Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) struggled to cope up with the spiraling violence, and the Indian government deployed the BSF to Jammu and Kashmir to combat separatist militants.
The BSF initially suffered casualties from insurgent attacks but later saw successes, including the arrest of militant leaders, after setting up an intelligence network and working with local civilians. BSF contribution in reducing militancy in J&K is widely acknowledged. The BSF killed Ghazi Baba—chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed and the mastermind of the 2001 Indian Parliament attack—in August 2003 along with his deputy commander. The BSF raided Baba's hideout in Srinagar and he was killed in the ensuing gun battle along with his deputy chief.
Despite the BSF's success in a counter-terrorism role, many in the government felt that this additional burden was leading to a dilution of the BSF's mandate and degrading the force's ability to perform its primary role of guarding the country's borders. In 2006 the Indian government has decided to implement recommendations to restrict each security agency to its mandate. Thus the 16 BSF battalions in Jammu and Kashmir are gradually being withdrawn from counter-insurgency duties and diverted back to guard the Indo-Pak border. They are being replaced by fresh units from the CRPF that have undergone specialised training in counter-terrorism. But the CRPF is yet to take over sensitive places like Tral. The 16 battalions being withdrawn from J&K were supposed to provide R&R to the battalions already deployed on the border. But with increasing Naxal violence in Central India, the government decided to diversify the Anti-Naxal operation with the induction of ITBP and BSF. BSF was deployed in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, where Naxal strength is comparatively thinner than that of other parts of Bastar region. At present total 15 battalions of BSF are stationed in different parts of Kanker district to combat the Naxal menace.
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The Border Security Force has its Headquarters at New Delhi and is known as Force Headquarters (FHQ) headed by a Director General. Various Directorates like Operations, Communications & IT, Training, Engineering, General, Law, Provisioning, Administration, Personnel, Armaments, Medical, Finance etc. function under the DG. Each Directorate is headed by an IG. The Eastern Theatre is looked after by Spl DG HQ (Eastern Command) at Kolkata and the Western Theatre is looked after by Spl DG HQ (Western Command) at Chandigarh. Field Formations in BSF are headed by an IG and are known as Frontiers Headquarters (FtrHQ). There is 13 such Frontier under which Sector Headquarters (SHQ) function headed by a DIG each. Each SHQ has under its command 4–5 Infantry Battalion, along with attachments of artillery, air and water wings. Presently 186 Battalions are sanctioned to BSF. Five major training institutions and 10 Subsidiary Training Centres (STCs) are imparting ab-initio as well as in-service training to its ranks and other CPOs/SPOs including IPS Probationers.
BSF is the only Central Armed Police force to have its own Air Wing, Marine Wing and artillery regiment, which support the General Duty Battalions in their operations. The Financial Adviser of the BSF has been an Indian Revenue Service officer of the rank of Joint Secretary and also has Dy Advisers from the Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian Civil Account Service and Indian Defence Account Service.
The BSF also has a national level school for breeding and training of dogs. Dogs from other CPOs and State Police are sent to National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD) to be trained in infantry patrol, detection of explosives, tracking and the like.
The BSF maintains a Tear Smoke Unit (TSU), which is unique in India. The TSU is responsible for producing tear gas munitions required for the Anti-Riot Forces. It also exports a substantial quantity to other countries.
Three battalions of the BSF, located at Kolkata, Guwahati, and Patna, are designated as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Each battalion maintains 18 self-contained specialist search and rescue teams of 45 personnel each, including engineers, technicians, electricians, dog squads and medics and paramedics. The establishment of each battalion is 1,158 personnel. The NDRF is a multi-disciplinary, multi-skilled, high-tech force for all types of disasters and can deploy to disasters by air, sea, and land. The battalions are equipped and trained for all natural disasters including combating Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) disasters.
BSF's role during peacetime
- To promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.
- To prevent trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India.
- To prevent smuggling and any other illegal activities on the Border.
- Anti-infiltration duties.
- To collect trans-border intelligence.
BSF is largely employed for Internal Security Duties and other law and order duties on the requisition of the State Government. Being a Central Armed Police Force it can be entrusted with policing duties at any place apart from its mandate. 
BSF's role during war time
- Holding ground in assigned sectors.
- Limited aggressive action against irregular forces of the enemy.
- Maintenance of Law and Order in enemy territory administered under the Army's control.
- Acting as guides to the Army in border areas.
- Assistance in control of refugees.
- Provision of escorts.
- Performing special tasks connected with intelligence including cross-border raids.
Guarding Myanmar (Burma) Border
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is considering a proposal to entrust the border-guarding duty along the Indo-Myanmar border to the Border Security Force (BSF). Presently, the 1,640 kilometres (1,020 mi) Indo-Myanmar border is being guarded by Assam Rifles.
The proposed move to guard the Indo-Myanmar border follows a proposal from the BSF to take over the role by raising 45 new battalions, one headquarters of additional director general, four frontier headquarters to be headed by an IG rank official and 12 sector headquarters to be headed by DIG level officials. But the recent rise in Insurgent Activities on Indo-Myanmar Border has forced the Government of India to delay a Border Guarding Force like BSF on Indo-Myanmar Border. As of 1 March 2015, it was decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs to keep the authority of this border with Assam Rifles only.
- Western Command, Chandigarh
- Gujarat Frontier, Gandhinagar
- Barmer Sector
- Gandhinagar Sector
- Bhuj Sector,
- Rajasthan Frontier, Jodhpur
- Jaisalmer I Sector
- Jaisalmer II Sector
- Bikaner Sector
- Ganganagar Sector
- Punjab Frontier, Jalandhar
- Ferozepur Sector
- Amritsar Sector
- Gurdaspur Sector
- Jammu Frontier
- Jammu Sector
- Sunderbani Sector
- Rajauri Sector
- I/Nagar Sector
- Kashmir Frontier, Humhama, District Budgam
- Srinagar Sector
- Baramulla Sector
- Bandipore Sector
- Kupwara Sector
- Gujarat Frontier, Gandhinagar
- Eastern Command, Kolkata
- South Bengal Frontier, Kolkata
- North Bengal Frontier, FHQ Kadamtala, District Darjeeling
- Meghalaya Frontier, Shillong
- Tripura Frontier, Agartala
- Mizoram & Cachar Frontier, Masimpur, District Silchar
- Aizawl Sector
- Cachar Sector
- CI Ops Manipur
- Assam Frontier, Guwahati
- Reserve HQ, Delhi
- ANO Frontier, Bangalore
Proposed ORBAT for Myanmar Border
- Northeast Command HQ, Imphal
- Mizoram Frontier
- Manipur Frontier
- Nagaland Frontier
- Arunachal frontier
- Sikkim frontier
Rank structure (gazetted officers)
|BSF RANKS||POLICE RANKS||ARMY RANKS|
|Director General||Director General of a State Police Force||Lieutenant General|
|Special Director General||Director General Of Police at centre/DG rank in state||Lieutenant General|
|Additional Director General||Adl. Director General Of Police at centre/DG rank in state||Lieutenant General|
|Inspector General (IG)||Insp. General Of Police at centre/ADG in state||Major General|
|Deputy Inspector General (DIG)||Dy. Inspector General Of Police at Centre/IG in state||Brigadier|
|Commandant||Sr. Superintendent Of Police at Centre/DIG in state/senior DCP||Colonel|
|Second-In-Command||Superintendent Of Police/SSP/DCP||senior Major/Lt.Col.|
|Deputy Commandant||Adl. Supritendent Of Police/SP/DCP/Addl. DCP||Major|
|Assistant Commandant (3 stars)||No equivalent/Addl. DCP/Addl.SP||Captain|
|Assistant Commandant (2 stars)||ACP/ASP||Lieutenant|
The BSF personnel have been recipients of the following awards:
- Mahavir Chakra
- Kirti Chakra
- Vir Chakra
- Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
- Shaurya Chakra
- Sena Medal
- Vishisht Seva Medal
- Mentioned in Despatches
- President's Police Medal for Gallantry
- Police Medal for Gallantry
- President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service
- Police Medal for Meritorious Service
- Comdt (Retd) Nripjit Singh, Volleyball-1962
- Dy Comdt (Retd) Udham Singh, Hockey-1965
- Dy Comdt (Retd) Praveen Kumar, Athletic-1967
- Inspr (Retd) Jagjit Singh, Hockey-1967
- Asst Comdt (Retd) Ajit Pal Singh, Hockey-1970
- Dy Comdt (Retd) Balwant Singh, Volleyball-1972
- Sec-in-Command Anil Kumar, B/Ball-1974
- Dy Inspr Gen (Retd) Mohinder Singh, Shooting-1983
- Asst Comdt Mahabir Singh, Wrestling-1985
- Asst Comdt Subhash Verma, Wrestling-1987
- Inspr Rajesh Kumar, Wrestling-1990
- Inspr Sanjay Kumar, Wrestling-1998
All the equipment including the uniforms, weapons, ammunition, vehicles such as the bullet proof vehicles, troop carriers, logistics vehicles, mine protected vehicles are manufactured indigenously at the Indian Ordnance Factories under control of the Ordnance Factories Board.
Pistols and handguns
Sub-machine guns and carbines
- Heckler & Koch MP5 A3 9 mm ×19 mm SMG
- Heckler & Koch MP5 K 9 mm ×19 mm SMG
- Beretta MX4 Storm submachine guns. 68000 SMGs procured and replaced the SAF Carbine 1A.
- AKM: 7.62x39mm assault rifle.
- INSAS: 5.56 mm × 45 mm Assault Rifle. Service rifle of the force.
- FN FAL Completely phased out as the service rifle by the INSAS rifle but still used as a DMR.
- Tavor: X95 or the MTAR-21 version used as the standard issue carbine.
- INSAS LMG
- Gun Machine 7.62 mm '1B' OFB Manufactured, modified 7.62 mm NATO Bren (limited use).
- FN MAG MMG
- NSV HMG
Multi-role recoilless rifle
- Carl Gustav 84 mm recoilless rifles
- 81 mm Mortar
- 51 mm Mortar
- 120 mm Mortar
- 105 mm Indian Field Gun
|Fixed-wing aircraft (4)|
|Hawker Siddeley HS 748||United Kingdom
|Tactical transport||HS 748-100||2||As of 2009.|
|Beechcraft Super King Air||United States||Utility aircraft||B200||1||Crashed in December 2015|
|Embraer 135||Brazil||VIP transport||Embraer-135 J||1||As of 2009.|
|HAL Dhruv||India||Utility helicopter||8||As of 2009.|
|As of 2009.|
As of 2014.
Elite Commando Force of Border Security Force
Creek Crocodile Commando are the elite commando force of BSF. It is Rann of Kutch (an extensive salt marsh of western India and southeast Pakistan between the Gulf of Kutch and the Indus River delta. It was the scene of major border disputes in 1965 and 1971). Creek (Gujarat): In order to thwart landing of terrorists through the sea route, BSF has formed its first commando unit—Creek Crocodiles—to man the hostile creek area where India shares a border with Pakistan.
Creeks are a very hostile terrain, constituting numerous raised grounds having mangroves and a network of water channels which are quite shallow where all movements are tide dependent.
"Creek Crocodiles are trained to thwart any evil designs from across the border", BSF commandant Pushpendra Singh Rathore, who had created and trained the commando unit at Koteshwar outpost of BSF, said.
"We have kept three things in mind while selecting cadets for the commando including swimming and marine diving performance, firing abilities and endurance to work in the rough creek,".
The Crocodile units have 42 commandos at present[when?] and they are undergoing vigorous training, he said.
Mine Protected Vehicles
According to the senior BSF officer, some MPVs have already been introduced in a number of BSF units along the border and more MPVs to be added in the coming years.
Planning and development
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Facing difficulty in guarding riverine sections of Indo-Pak border, the BSF has started installing Farheen LASER walls to fill the gaps which saw several breaches by militants from across the border.
Criticism and controversy
Condemnation by Canada
In 2010, some Canadian visa officials rejected the immigration application of a retired BSF soldier Fateh Singh Pandher, terming BSF a "notoriously violent paramilitary unit engaged in systematic attacks on civilians and responsible for torturing suspected criminals". This accusation did not go down well with the Indian government. The Indian External Affairs Ministry was asked by the Home minister to take up the issue with Canada. The Home ministry of India, as well as the Indian public in general and several of India's political parties, expressed outrage at this attack and called Canada's actions discriminatory and spurious, and their charges against the BSF as baseless and unproven. The Indian government threatened diplomatic retaliation unless Canada withdrew their allegations. The Canadian government did not respond immediately. It was speculated that diplomatic retaliation from India will consist of banning Canadians going to participate the War in Afghanistan if they are doing so through India. Public outrage in India prompted Canadian authorities to express "great respect for India's armed forces and related institutions". Subsequently, India's Ministry of External Affairs summoned Canadian High Commissioner Joseph Caron and demanded that "the blatant discrimination against Indian security agencies" cease. India's Minister of External Affairs, SM Krishna, condemned Canada's actions and has expressed pride in the accomplishments of the BSF.
Following complaints made by the Indian government and criticism of Canada's actions against India, the Harper government retracted their earlier accusations against BSF security officials. Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, termed as "unfortunate" the incidents involving use of "foul language by the Canadian High Commission in visa rejection letters to some individuals", Kenney said, "This language, or the inaccurate impression it has created, in no way reflects the policy or position of the Government of Canada."
Bangladesh border killings
According to the Bangladeshi government, 136 civilians were killed and a further 170 others suffered injuries in 2009. The Indian government has said that 67 were killed and 80 injured in 2009. The Bangladesh government and Bangladeshi organizations protested heavily against these alleged killings. Media reports claim that in August 2008, Indian BSF officials admitted that they killed 59 persons (34 Bangladeshis, 21 Indians, rest unidentified) who were trying to cross the border illegally during the prior six months. Indian media claimed that, in 2001, Bangladeshi Border Force kidnapped and murdered 16 BSF personnel because they chased some Bangladeshi goons back to Bangladesh. Since then, the BSF has been compelled to act tough against Bangladeshi illegals
In July 2009 Channel 4 News reported that apparently "hundreds" of Bangladeshis and Indians are indiscriminately killed by the BSF along the Indo-Bangladeshi Barrier. The BSF claims that the barrier's main purpose is to check illegal immigration to India, and prevent cross-border terrorism from Islamists.
Bangladeshi media accused the BSF of abducting 5 Bangladeshi children, aged between 8 and 15, from the Haripur Upazila in Thakurgaon District of Bangladesh, in 2010. The children were setting fishing nets near the border.
In 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued an 81-page report which alleged "over 900 of abuses by the BSF" in the first decade of the 21st century. The report was compiled from interviews with victims of BSF shootings, witnesses and members of the BSF and its Bangladeshi counterpart. According to HRW, while most of them were killed when they crossed into Indian territory for indulging in cattle raiding or other smuggling activities.
In February 2012, the BSF website was hacked by Bangladeshi hackers in retaliation. The hackers later shared the news in the internet and also in the other social sites where they claimed to have defaced the sites asking the BSF to stop killing Bangladeshis at border. The site became normal sometime on 15 February 2012.
- Assam Rifles
- Border Security Force (Water Wing)
- Central Industrial Security Force
- Central Reserve Police Force
- Indo-Tibetan Border Police
- Sashastra Seema Bal
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