PM Modi-Doval dual PowerPunch Ready to Punch CHINA; To revive Special Service Bureau to counter Chinese activity in India's neighbourhood
Becoming wary of increasing Chinese activity in India's neighbourhood, especially in Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and along the international border, the Centre has decided to revive the Special Service Bureau (SSB), the erstwhile avatar of the Sashastra Seema Bal.
Sources said that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has shot a missive to Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) chief RN Ravi and Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, asking them to work out the revival plans of the SSB.
The SSB was constituted in 1963, immediately after the 1962 war debacle, to act as a bulwark to keep the Chinese manoeuvres in the region at bay by recruiting local foot soldiers in large numbers.
Organised for winning over the border population in Arunachal Pradesh and Bangladesh, Nepal and even Jammu borders to serve as the eyes and ears of the security forces, the Bureau played a key role in gathering intelligence along the border and in neighbouring countries on Chinese designs.
The move to revive the Bureau, in addition to a dedicated Mountain Corps and deployment of the Brahmos missiles along the Indo-China border, has been taken by the top security establishment in view of the increasing footprints of China in the neighbouring countries and along the international border, sources told DNA.
The recent Chinese manoeuvres (Belt and Road Initiative) of opening up new rail and road trade route with Nepal linking Guangdong, Tibet and Kathmandu, the under-construction Shigatse-Gyirong rail link, that would leave Kathmandu merely 84 km away, and the plan to build a tunnel under Mount Everest have made the Indian security establishment very apprehensive of Chinese designs.
Besides, China is also increasing its footprints in Bangladesh and Myanmar. Bangladesh recently showed keen interest in increasing Chinese FDI and support for developing infrastructure. During Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent visit, the two countries signed 28 MoUs and deals.
The Chinese dominance can also lead to change in dynamics of relations with neighbouring countries and it is important for India to prepare for future threats, said sources. Moreover, Pakistan's ISI is also trying to make India's eastern borders active and use them to fuel disturbance. The role of SSB will come in very handy in countering these threats, sources said.
The SSB had thousands of locals -- well trained in intelligence-gathering, firearms and combat role -- spread out in the border areas, who not only served wonderfully well by way of penetration and intelligence-collection but also by countering the propaganda that Chinese tried to feed near the border areas and in neighbouring countries.
In its new avatar, the SSB will have to undergo sophisticated training and deeper penetration, said sources. It would take quite some time to put the plan on the ground as the SSB has lost touch with much of its old assets after it got into the new mould