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Border Security Force
Abbreviation BSF
Formation December 1, 1965
Headquarters Force Head Quarters, Block 10
CGO Complex
Lodhi Road
New Delhi 110003
Director General MR Subhash Joshi (IPS, Uttarakhand Cadre)

The Border Security Force (BSF) is a border guarding force of the Government of India. Established on December 1, 1965, it is one of the Central Armed Police Forces. Its primary role is to guard India's international borders during peacetime and also prevent trans border crime. Like all Central Armed Police Forces of India, the BSF is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is one of the many law enforcement agencies of India.

The unique BSF Camel Contingent during the annual Republic Day Parade.

With a strength of 240,000 personnel in 186 battalions, including women personnel,[1][1][2] it is one of the world's largest border patrol forces. K F Rustomji, the BSF's first Director General is referred to as the founding father of the BSF.


A member of India's Border Security Force.

BSF soldiers contributing and supporting at a Medical Camp, India.

From independence in 1947 to 1965, the protection of India's international boundaries was the responsibility of local police battalions belonging to each border state, with little interstate coordination. BSF is a paramilitary force charged with guarding India's land border during peace time and preventing transnational crime. It is a Union Government Agency under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs.It is one of many law enforcement agency of India.It currently stands as the world's largest border guarding force.


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The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 demonstrated the inadequacies of the existing border management system and led to the formation of the Border Security Force as a unified central agency with the specific mandate of guarding India's international boundaries. The BSF was the brain child of its founding father Sh KF Rustamji, the first Director General of BSF. 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 April 9, 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 to man the International Border with Pakistan. As a result of the recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries, the Border Security Force came into existence on Dec 1, 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 performed by their male counterparts, including guarding the border. Over 100 women have been deployed on the highly volatile Indo-Pak border, while around 60 will be deployed on the Indo-Bangla border. In total, 595 women constables will be deployed on the border in different phases.

The previous Director General was U K Bansal who took charge in November 2011.

Wagah, Husainiwala & Sadque Border Flag Lowering Ceremony

Every evening, at the Wagah, Husainiwala & Sadque Border that is the international border of India and Pakistan, the BSF together with the neighboring country's border guarding force which is the Pakistan Rangers do a military drill which both the forces from each country participate in the daily ceremony. This ceremony attracts thousands of spectators domestically and internationally from both the country.

Counter insurgency operations

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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. When the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir broke out in 1989, the 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 Islamic 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—second-in-command of Jaish-e-Mohammed and the mastermind of the 2001 Indian Parliament attack—in August 2003. The BSF raided Baba's hideout in Srinagar and he was killed in the ensuing gunbattle.

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. The Indian government has now 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 Force that have undergone specialized 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, 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 6 battalions of BSF are stationed in different parts of Kanker district to combat Naxal menace.


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The Border Security Force has its Headquarters at New Delhi and is known as Force Headquarter (FHQ) headed by a Director General. Various Directorates like Operations, Communications & IT, Training, Engineering, General, Law, Provisioning, Administration, Personnel, Medical, Finance etc. function under the DG. Each Directorate is headed by an IG. The Eastern Theater is looked after by Spl DG HQ at Kolkata and the Western Theater is looked after by Spl DG HQ at Chandigarh.Field Formations in BSF are headed by an IG and are known as Frontiers Headquarters (FtrHQ). There are 10 such Frontier under which Sector Headquarters (SHQ) function headed by a DIG each. There are 31 such Sectors. Each SHQ has under its command 4–5 Duty Battalions. 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 regiments, which support the General Duty Battalions in their operations.

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.

Two battalions of the BSF, located at Kolkata and Guwahati, 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 medical/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 disaster, biological and chemical disasters.

BSF's role during peace time

1. To promote sense of security among the people living in the border areas. 2. To prevent trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India. 3. To prevent smuggling and any other illegal activities on the Border. 4. Anti-infiltration duties. 5. To collect trans-border intelligence. [3]

BSF's role during war time

1. Holding ground in assigned sectors. 2. Limited aggressive action against Central Armed Police or irregular forces of enemy. 3. Maintenance of Law and Order in enemy territory administered under the Army's control. 4. Guarding of Prisoners of War camps. 5. Acting as guides to the Army in border areas. 6. Assistance in control of refugees. 7. Provision of escorts. 8. Performing special tasks connected with intelligences including raids. [3]

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 km Indo-Myanmar border is being guarded by Assam Rifles. The proposed move to guard the Indo-Myanmar follows a proposal from the BSF to take over the role by raising 45 new battalions, one headquarter of additional director general, four frontier headquarters to be headed by an IG rank official 12 sector headquarter to be headed by DIG level officials.


  • Western Theatre HQ, Chandigarh
    • Gujarat Frontier
    • Rajasthan Frontier
    • Punjab Frontier
    • Jammu Frontier
    • Srinagar Frontier
  • Eastern Theatre HQ, Kolkata
    • South Bengal Frontier[4]
    • Malda Frontier
    • North Bengal Frontier
    • Meghalaya Frontier
    • Tripura Frontier
    • Chachar & Mizoram Frontier
    • Guwahati Frontier

Proposed ORBAT for Myanmar Border

  • Northeast Theatre HQ, Imphal
    • Mizoram Frontier
    • Manipur Frontier
    • Nagaland Frontier
    • Arunachal frontier

Rank structure (gazetted officers)

BSF officer inspecting guard of honour

BSF officers

BSF Embraer

Director General (Apex Scale of the Indian Police Service) Director General of a State Police Force Lieutenant General (Army Commander's Scale) Vice Admiral (FOC-in-C's Scale) Air Marshal (AOC-in-C's Scale)
Special Director General (HAG+ Scale of the Indian Police Service) Special Director General Lieutenant General (HAG+ Scale) Vice Admiral (HAG+ Scale) Air Marshal (HAG+ Scale)
Additional Director General (Higher Administrative Grade of the IPS cadre, also available to BSF cadre) C.P, ADG Lieutenant General (Higher Administrative Grade) Vice Admiral (HAG) Air Marshal (HAG)
Inspector General Joint C.P, IG Major General Rear Admiral Air Vice Marshal
Deputy Inspector General Additional C.P, DIG Brigadier Commodore Air Commodore
Commandant SSP/DCP Colonel Captain Group Captain
2 I/C SP/DCP Lt. Colonel Commander Wing Commander
Deputy Commandant Addl SP,Addl.DCP Major Lt. Commander Sqn Leader
Assistant Commandant Assistant commissioner of police Captain Lieutenant Flight Lieutenant

Roll of honour

The BSF personnel have been recipients of the following awards:

Military awards

Civil awards

  • Padma Bhushan
  • Padmashri
  • Prime Minister's Medal for life saving
  • Arjuna Awards

Police medals

  • President's Police Medal for Gallantry
  • Police Medal for Gallantry
  • President Police Medal for Distinguished Service
  • Police Medal for Meritorious Service

Arjuna awardees

  1. Comdt (Retd) Nripjit Singh, Volleyball-1962
  2. Dy Comdt (Retd) Udham Singh, Hockey-1965
  3. Dy Comdt (Retd) Praveen Kumar, Athletic-1967
  4. Inspr (Retd) Jagjit Singh, Hockey-1967
  5. Asst Comdt (Retd) Ajit Pal Singh, Hockey-1970
  6. Dy Comdt (Retd) Balwant Singh, Volleyball-1972
  7. Sec-in-Command Anil Kumar, B/Ball-1974
  8. Dy Inspr Gen (Retd) Mohinder Singh, Shooting-1983
  9. Asst Comdt Mahabir Singh, Wrestling-1985
  10. Asst Comdt Subhash Verma, Wrestling-1987
  11. Inspr Rajesh Kumar, Wrestling-1990
  12. 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.[5]

Pistols And handguns

FN Browning Hi-Power Practical

Sub-machine guns and carbines

Heckler & Koch MP5K

Assault rifles

  • AK-47
  • INSAS 5.56mmx45 mm Assault Rifle
  • S.L.R self-loading rifle ( Indian origin, has been phased out 90%, with INSAS)

Sniper rifles

Machine guns

Carl Gustav recoilless rifle

Rocket-propelled grenade

  • RPG-7 40mm Rocket Launcher

Multi-role recoilless rifle


Air defence



BSF uses Avro to transport troops

Beechcraft Super King Air

BSF had evaluated two aircraft for the transport aircraft requirement; they are Alenia C-27J Spartan manufactured by Alenia Aeronautica and EADS CASA C-295.[7]

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," commandant Rathore said.[citation needed]

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.[8]

Controversies with Bangladesh

According to the Bangladeshi government,136 civilians were killed and a further 170 others suffered injury's in 2009. The Indian government has said that 67 were killed and 80 injured in 2009.[9] The Bangladesh government and Bangladeshi organizations protest heavily against these alleged killings. Media reports claim that in August 2008, Indian BSF officials admitted that they killed 59 illegals(34 Bangladeshis, 21 Indians, rest unidentified) who were trying to cross the border illegally during the prior six months.[10] 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 acts tough against Bangladeshi illegals[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

In 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a 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.[14] 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 February 15, 2012.[15][16]


Planning and development


In 2010, some Canadian visa officials rejected the immigration application of a retired BSF soldier Moninder Singh Pandher, terming BSF a "notoriously violent paramilitary unit engaged in systematic attacks on civilians and responsible for torturing suspected criminals". This accusation against one of India's elite Central Police force 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.[19] The Home ministry of India, as well as the Indian public in general and several of India's political parties, have expressed outrage at this attack and have called Canada's actions discriminatory and spurious, and their charges against the BSF as baseless and unproven. The Indian government has threatened diplomatic retaliation unless they withdraw their allegations. The Canadian government did not respond immediately.[20] 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".[21] Subsequently, India's Ministry of External Affairs summoned Canadian High Commissioner Joseph Caron and demanded that "the blatant discrimination against Indian security agencies" cease.[22] India's Minister of External Affairs, SM Krishna, condemned Canada's actions and has expressed pride in the accomplishments of the BSF.[23]

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."[24]

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 John Pike. "Border Security Forces – India". Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  2. "First ever women BSF to man Indian borders – India News – IBNLive". 2009-07-18. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Page no. 636 & 637 of Chapter 20 India 2013 published by Publications Division of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India
  6. "Anti-material rifle handed over to BSF". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  7. "BSF set to buy transport aircraft – Indian Express". 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  8. "Choppers, anti-mine vehicles new teeth for BSF". The Times Of India. 2011-01-18. 
  10. India says 59 killed over last six months on Bangladesh border, Reuters, August 24, 2008.
  11. "Fortress India – By Scott Carney, Jason Miklian, and Kristian Hoelscher". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  12. "Channel 4 News". July 24, 2009. 
  13. "BSF abducts 5 children from border". July 24, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 
  14. "India/Bangladesh: Indiscriminate Killings, Abuse by Border Officers". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved January 21, 2011. 
  19. "Canada calls BSF a 'violent paramilitary unit'". Hindustan Times. 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  20. "Outraged India asks Canada to respond on visa row". Times of India. 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-05-29. [dead link]
  21. "We have great respect for Indias armed forces -Canada". Times of India. 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  22. "Visa row, India warns Canada of retaliation". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  23. Bangalore/New Delhi:, May 27, DHNS & Agencies:. "Visa Row, India warns Canada". Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  24. "Canada regrets language used by its officials in visa letters". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 

External links

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