Nongkrem (Meghalaya): Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai on Thursday said the government has proposed to raise five more battalions for Assam Rifles.
“The Home Ministry has given theoretical approval to the formation of five additional battalions for providing adequate (peace station) to the soldiers of Assam Rifles,” Rai announced at the Assam Rifles headquarters here in Meghalaya.
Addressing all ranks of the Assam Rifles on the 187th Raising Day of the paramilitary force, the Union Minister informed that the government has approved the plan for modernisation of Assam Rifles and work is in progress.
“The Modi government has launched several welfare schemes such as Ayushman Bharat, Railway and Air ticket booking facility and e-Awas portal which reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring the welfare of troops,” Rai said.
Describing Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force in India, as an “all-rounder” because of its multitasking capabilities, the Union Minister said, “Assam Rifles is an all-rounder in all situations and tasks whether border guarding, counter-insurgency or any other role.”
“Your (Assam Rifles) work is exemplary. You have worked successfully and hope that you would continue to work like this,” he said and complimented the soldiers for their outstanding contribution in fighting insurgency in the Northeast and Kashmir.
He also thanked all ranks of Assam Rifles for their selfless service to the nation and further expressed his gratitude to the Bravehearts of the Force who have made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.
Rai also recalled the supreme sacrifices made by Col Viplav Tripathi and four Bravehearts in the Manipur Encounter with insurgents in Nov 2021 in which the wife and child of Col Viplav Tripathi also laid down their lives.
The Union Minister praised the Assam Rifles’ endeavours for women empowerment which has led to the deployment of a large number of Riflewomen (Mahila Soldiers) on frontline duties. Efforts are on to recruit more women into the force, he said, adding in the recent past over 1000 women have been inducted in the Assam Rifles.
Lauding the paramilitary force, the Union Minister said, the Assam Rifles has seized drugs worth Rs. 40 crore in the past year alone. He said if this huge amount of drugs found its way to the youths, it would have affected the future of the nation.
“Youths are the future of our nation…the drugs would have destroyed their career and therefore the future of the country would have weakened,” he added.
The Union Minister also touched on the excellent civic action programme being undertaken by the Assam Rifles and the splendid performance of its personnel in peacekeeping missions across the globe.
Meanwhile Assam Rifles Director General, PG Nair informed that the Assam Rifles is actively involved in counter-insurgency operations both in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir, besides guarding the indo-Myanmar border. Lt Gen Nair added that the paramilitary force has planted 31 lakh saplings as part of its civic action programme and is also conducting other programmes to “win hearts of the people.”
“We will face all security challenges with vigour,” the Assam Rifles Chief said. Assam Rifles has the twin responsibility of guarding the treacherous India-Myanmar border and also conducting counter-insurgency operations in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Nagaland.
The porous border with its rugged terrain is used by Indian insurgent groups to slip in and out of the country. Forest and animal products are also smuggled through this route. Four states of the North-east – Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Nagaland (215 km), Manipur (398 km) and Mizoram (510 km) – share the border.