New Delhi: As many as 260 Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel were awarded the Union Home Minister’s Special Operation Medal on Sunday for rendering exceptional service during the ongoing military standoff with the Chinese PLA in eastern Ladakh.
The home ministry issued a notification naming a total of 397 personnel from various state police and central forces for the award.
An ITBP spokesperson said the award was given to its troops in recognition of the “indomitable courage and devotion to duty” shown by them in eastern Ladakh between May, 2020 and February this year.
At 260, it is the highest number of the award given to a police force in one go.
“The ITBP personnel safeguarded the borders in Ladakh in extreme conditions through its operation ‘snow leopard’ on the icy heights. The force carried out a high-level of strategic planning and efficient execution of ground operations with complete synergy and collaboration between all sister organisations,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Former commander of the ITBP north-west frontier based in Leh, Inspector General (IG) Deepam Seth, is among the awardees.
Seth, now posted at the headquarters of the border force here, was also a member of the Indian delegation for the 10 rounds of senior highest military commander (SHMC) level talks with the Chinese border commanders.
Informing about the award, the spokesperson said the “special operations of ITBP were spread over a year and involved a high degree of execution of strategic planning and efficient ground operation.”
“Besides this, it also included timely and adequate supplies of logistics to the forward location for troops,” he said.
The government last year had accorded the police medal for gallantry (PMG) to 20 ITBP officers and personnel for displaying bravery during the military standoff and violent clashes with the Chinese PLA personnel.
The about 90,000 personnel strong ITBP was raised in 1962 in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression and it is primarily tasked with guarding the 3,488-km India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC). Some of its posts at the LAC are located as high as 18,800 feet.
The Union Home Minister’s Special Operation Medal was instituted in 2018 and is given for special operations in areas such as counter-terrorism, border action, arms control, prevention of narcotics smuggling and rescue operations.