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The worrying rise of militarisation in India’s Central Armed Police Forces

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Once one has a hammer, one tends to see a nail everywhere — the use of lethal force by organs of the state against its own citizens needs utmost vigilance.

Over the last two decades, the size of India’s Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) has almost doubled. At the same time, expenditures on these forces have increased by almost an order of magnitude. These increases are occurring at a time when virtually all major ministries and departments of the central government have witnessed a decline in their personnel.

The implications of this growth in the militarised approach to policing have not received the attention they deserve.

As per data from the Seventh Pay Commission, the number of ‘persons in position’ in the central government declined by 42,817 between 2006 and 2010, and increased by 70,607 between 2010 and 2014.

The one notable exception is the Ministry of Home Affairs, led by the remarkable growth of CAPFs. Between 2006 and 2010, staffing in MHA increased by 68,984, and between 2010 and 2014, by an additional 167,063.

In other words, over the period 2006-14, personnel increases in the MHA (thanks to CAPFs) were more than six times the net increase in personnel of the entire central government.

The foremost function of any state is the safety of its citizens. This function is discharged through two principal instruments of the state — the army, to protect its citizens from external aggression; and the police, to ensure their physical safety as well as that of their property.

In federal systems, the former is controlled by the central government and the latter is largely the responsibility of sub-national and local governments. While this has been the case with India as well – with the army performing its tasks substantially better than the police – India is rare in having a third paramilitary instrument controlled at the federal level, not by the armed forces but rather by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

While the CAPFs perform a range of functions, from riot control to VIP duties, overseas deployments and disaster relief, they have two principal functions: guarding the country’s borders, and internal security. After the Kargil war, following the recommendations of the K. Subrahmanyam Committee, the principle of ‘one border, one border-guarding force’ was adopted for guarding the country’s international borders.

Thus, the BSF guards the Bangladesh and Pakistan borders, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) the 3,488 km of the India-China border, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) is responsible for keeping an eye on India’s 2,450 km open borders with Nepal and Bhutan, and the Assam Rifles – the oldest paramilitary force of the country and the only CAPF officered by army officers – the border with Myanmar (the army only guards the land borders along the LoC with Pakistan and the LAC with China).

The largest CAPF, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), has been deployed principally in the two most vexing internal security challenges facing India — the strife in Jammu and Kashmir, and Left-wing extremism in central and eastern India. About 118 battalions of the CAPFs have been deployed to combat the Maoists using the Indian state’s “elephant” approach on dealing with insurgencies – throw tens of thousands of men (and now women as well) at the problem, and the sheer weight gradually crushes the opponent. Table 1 provides data on the current size of the different CAPFs.

Table 1: Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) as on 01.03.2017 | Source: Lok Sabha Starred Question 526, 11 April 2017.

More worryingly, this expansion has proceeded much more rapidly than that of the other security-providing instruments of the state, the army and the police (Table 2). In 1998, CAPFs were less than 58 per cent of the size of the army. By 2015, this had increased to 82 per cent – and the number is climbing.

It could be argued that this by itself should not be a cause of worry, since modern armies are not as manpower-intensive as in the past. However, the relative budgets have climbed as well – expenditures on CAPFs have increased from 12 per cent of the defence budget in 1999-2000 to nearly 18 per cent in 2016-17.

Infographic on percentage of CAPFs
Table 2: Personnel strength of CAPFs (Civil police excludes state armed police) | Source: Data on army from the Indian Institute for Strategic Studies, and civil police from Bureau of Police Research and Development

Source: Data on army from the Indian Institute for Strategic Studies, and civil police from Bureau of Police Research and Development

At the other end, the size of CAPFs relative to the civil police has increased by nearly 15 per cent over the last two decades, which means that basic law and order – which is the first line of defence and is already under severe stress – is being neglected at the cost of a more militarised approach to policing. Indeed, these figures underestimate the latter, since they exclude 153 sanctioned Indian Reserve Battalions under state governments, but are funded in part by the central government.

There has been little scrutiny on the larger implications of the rapid expansion of the CAPFs.

Organisationally, there are hard questions regarding the overall effectiveness of these forces, stemming from weaknesses in training, poor equipment, and ineffective leadership. Rapid expansion has meant that recent inductees have not gone through as much rigorous training as needed. Their equipment is often shoddy, whether heavy helmets or body-armour, or simply inappropriate, as is the case with the limited range of non-lethal and non-maiming weapons to handle stone-throwing youngsters in Kashmir. Even their food rations often get siphoned.

But perhaps the biggest lacuna is leadership. The political leadership incessantly misuses them in activities like “VIP duty” (an activity that requires 7.5 per cent of the personnel resources of the CRPF). And even as the caste system in Indian society has been weakening, it is very much alive in the Indian police. IPS officers have a stranglehold on top paramilitary positions, even though the service was never meant to lead a paramilitary force, and most have little experience of leading from the front in insurgency areas. While there are exceptional IPS officers in the CAPFs, there is no reason why they should enjoy a de facto monopoly on the leadership of these forces.

Internal officer recruits in these forces know they have little chance to get to the top, undermining motivation and how they care for their troops. Little wonder that the officer-to-soldier casualties in the CAPFs are much lower than in the army.

The results have been all too painful in the severity of casualties of the rank-and-file of the CAPFs. Suicide rates in the CRPF are at least as high as among Indian farmers, but there is little anguish in the media about that. Data indicates that far more perish from malaria and stress-related heart attacks than combat.

Virtually all accounts of the instances when they have suffered a large number of casualties indicate poor leadership, but there is little accountability other than slap-on-the-wrist transfers. Feeble leadership also underlies a weak esprit de corps in the units, with bodies not always recovered after ambushes, and weapons of dead soldiers looted by the Maoists, which would not happen to army units.

There are potentially serious long-term implications of this very rapid expansion of CAPFs. For one, there are fiscal implications, not just of relative priorities of public spending, but even for the CAPFs themselves, as pension and healthcare bills will sharply rise in due course and cut into much-needed spending on better equipment and facilities. This is happening to the army, where one can see the crowding-out effects of rising pensions bills on military modernisation.

More importantly, the rise of the CAPFs is indicative of how states in India have been abdicating their constitutional responsibilities on law and order, by both under-investing in and over-politicising their own police forces. The reality is whether it is election duty or riot control, CAPFs are more trusted on competence and perceived as less partisan than local police forces. As a result, states have been slowly but surely giving up important policing powers to the Centre.

But there might be an even more disturbing implication. Once one has a hammer, one tends to see a nail everywhere. The use of lethal force by organs of the state against its own citizens requires utmost vigilance. The state needs to be extremely careful that the rapid growth of the CAPFs does not end up creating more problems than what it is trying to solve through this expansion.

Devesh Kapur is Madan Lal Sobti Professor for the Study of Contemporary India and the director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania. 

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  1. Looks this article has been composed by a different person belonging to defence background for the writer who himself is not having any insight knowlege on the internal security challenges in India its CAPFs and how these are being tackled by CAPFs over decades. You look worried and uncomfortable for every penny spent by govt on CAPF is a waste & taken out from Armed Forces pocket. It is an attempt to pit CAPFs with Armed Forces for being favoured by Govt and spending unnecessarily on CAPFs for their expansion and maintenance. I can well visualise writer may have spent many years on foreign soil having little exposure to the ground reality on insurgencies, militancy & maoist threat nation has been facing over years who has been handling it and at what cost. Yes, these forces have been into it for years without any relief or rest. These forces do not have luxary of peace stations concept & life style. Not that forces donot want to strengthen on training, after basic and in service courses, we find difficult to spare men for collective training because of heavy commitment, Units or sub units are rarely available for collective training. We rely for on the spot the unlike army who can always prepare war after their field tenure. Although called a ‘Reserve Police’ but there are no reserves anywhere. Officers & men all have long duty hours sometimes extending upto 16-18 hours or more on regular basis. BSF units move from one border to another border area having hard to extreme hard conditions and also in between deployments in Naxal infested areas and other duties. They have assigned role & unending tasks to fulfill. The expansions are as per the growing internal security needs of the nation. RR was also such need considered for army to crate an organization capable to take tasks in CI role and also take care career planning needs of many officers to fulfill their command assignments & aspirations. Wars are never wanted, fortunately we did not see any war after 1971. All those who joined armed forces after 71 retired from Army having reached different ranks. Everyone may not have got the opportunity to serve in Sri Lanka and operated in Kargil. As a responsive citizen, I don’t feel happy to talk or touch upon the sensitive details of these places.
    To say that CAPF have no training or ethos is incorrect. It’s lack of opportunities and facilities. To see how difficult & different is to operate in a Naxal area, one has to come & serve there. No army personal will ever understand it as they have not served there for a single day. How CAPFs are operating there & why does it become difficult to retrieve bodies of own members, I ask you to come with some of your friends & sympathisers. I you want to know about BSF; come I will take permission from my DG BSF or our ministry to clear your misconceptions about CAPFs.
    My friendly & elderly advice to you based on my 39 years spent in BSF and also having known about other forces, please do not try to bring this kind of damaging writing from where ever you are or who so ever approaches you with his mind set. All forces are important for India as they have definite role. We are meant to complement and support other. There will never be a feeling like raising a force to counter our own Army. Each of person from CAPF is to stand with our great Army against any adversary anytime. I am one for sure even after retirement

    • Dear Mr Bhola Nath, no one questions the valiant men and BSF units. I have seen and interacted with them first hand on various occassions. Here the question is over multiplicity of agencies/organisations for identical jobs and need for duplicity of effort affecting the financial health. Having different organisations for similar task itself is counter-effective. Imagine the state of affairs in Naxal-infested areas where we have BSF, CRPF, ITBP, all for the same purpose. Belonging to different hierarchy and training, they lack cohesiveness and inter-operability. Even armed forces were thrown in during 2012 to add to the confusion (Under cover of training activities). Several Naxals surrendered to army (got data) rather than getting “fixed up” in the CAPF rivalry. But armed forces shouldn’t be there!
      Earlier we in armed forces enjoyed absolute brotherhood with BSF deployed on the IB, but during early 2000s they began hating us since army had deployed HMGs, HHTIs and infantry section at BSF outposts as reinforcements. I remember a BSF officer complaining “Sir, we are in poor shape since aimed fire of our infantry invite aimed fire from Pak Rangers too!” I don’t know whose fault was that. But most surprising were infiltration in Jammu-Pathankot areas despite heavy deployment by BSF. As a company commander I deployed my ambushes well to the rear, yet encountered the infiltrators! It was a mystery, no one could clarify (the terrain was plain and absolutely clear!).

      • Don’t open worm’s can. Don’t show that 1 Force is poor n only army is superior & unfailable. Every force has it share of success n set backs because these are dependent on many variables. As you are surprised by 1 odd incident of infiltration from Pathankot border so am I that army has been failing to contain infiltration since 1989 on LOC. Will not dwell much. It’s better that we discuss policy related deficiency than questioning the efficiency of 1 org over another.

    • Mr Bhola Nath, the issue is not the Men its the Top Leadership! The nearly 5500 IPS Officers have contributed only with omissions and over sight! One barely has a good memorable personal act from the in the past 70 years. That’s the long and short of the argument !!!

  2. An excellent article that addresses the very core of the issue. With the plethora of Central/Paramilitary forces MHA’s intentions seem questionable. As for Border Security/management itself the MHA has created BSF, ITBP and SSB, all with the identical purposes and yet borders seem as porous as before! As for Internal Security we have CRPF, CISF, IRB, SAF and what not!
    Very surprisingly, all of them are headed at the top levels by IAS who are neither trained not conditioned to lead them into battle with internal divisive/criminal forces.
    I have first hand experience as responsible for training of CRPF and ITBP units prior to their induction to naxal-affected areas; an excellent body of men with equally good armoury, yet mostly untrained, demotivated and lacking initiative. Their Commandants and officers hold serious grudge against the IAS hierarchy who are largely clueless about situations. The cadre officers have no hope of reaching beyond battalion-levels since all those positions are already held by inexperienced IAS officers on “deputation”.
    The outrageous massacre of 75+ CRPF personnel should have shaken the very foundations of MHA; but they remained the same except few knee-jerk and temporary reactions.
    Unlike Armed Forces, the MHA procured state-of-the-art weapons and equipment, often better than regular armed forces, yet the overall performance has been consistently below par.
    Is it an IAS lobby “scam” for securing unrestricted cadre-promotion, finding their parking places, grabbing large funds released and even arms-import kick-backs?
    Only if compared to an normal army infantry battalion inventory; these CAPF/paramilitary forces look much superior and enviable.
    At several places, these units and personnel swap the authorities of local police too and create own space, without responsibilities. Their uniforms imitate regular Armed Forces adding much to the confusion.
    It’s an extremely dangerous trend where men armed to teeth roam freely and without responsibility.
    It is the result of IAS lobby who have win-win situation all their way to retirement, irrespective of what and how their men in battalions fare. All the while regular Armed Forces are still called for “Aid to Civil Authorities”, All over the country!

    • Though I have seem many veterans who would qualify for the category of “fragile-ego and dim-wits”, but you sir, whoever you are and whatever you’re slinging here, are not even remotely aware of the problems that the CAPFs face. Right from the flawed nomenclature to the budget allocation the government and the civil servants keeps them in state of oblivion. You are saying that the troops in CAPFs are not motivated and you’re also questioning the leadership of cadre officers. Well let me things into perspective.
      First, if the govt. even whispers minor budget cuts in the perks that the Armed forces get, chunks of veterans would cry howl of “lowering moral of the Jawans” and other insignificant whataboutery. This is explicitly conspicuous in the envy our defence officers have for IAS/IPS officer, disregarding the fact that running a whole gamut of government is far more challenging that shouting some war cry with men whom “imbecile-intellect officer” treat like their personal servants.
      Second, CAPFs don’t create their own spaces without responsibility, as you have mentioned, it’s just that the govt. thinks of them as jack of all trade and exploit their manpower to its best.
      Third, Army battalions are not called to aid the CAPFs, rather like CAPFs, they are called for aiding the civil authorities with non-superimposable deputation.
      Fourth, you said even with better equipment the performance is below par. I don’t know how inflated you ego is (well the Bollywood and media manthans are partly responsible for certifying people like you to judge the performance of other organizations when your own leadership is full of cow-shit) that you can judge their performance with your biased and nincompoop vision. Look at the sheer amount of load that these organizations are handling, had the same treatment given to Army, officer would have started howling their credo and what not.

  3. Nice article no doubt, but what’s the option with Government? IPS Officers actually hold the key to the shenanigans of the political class and are best kept out of the loop with minor temptations. A simple forensic investigation would land a fifth of a leadership in jail in a matter of days !!! But the IPS, which is more like Indian Personal Service, is happy to be VIPs with Blue Star Plates all day long and in out of Uniform most days of the week in Non Core Police Appointments !! The CAPFs are at the end of day give a veneer of “all is well respectability” to Policing which is primarily a State Function in the Indian scheme of things. Policing remains with the States with a very heavy Central presence …….. In a modern economy the CISF is a oxymoron by all standards. Industry must learn to keep itself safe ……….. But given the working conditions and assured upto 60 years engagement the Indian Young men would do well to have a CAPF First Career Option !!!! And CISF ought to be at the top of the their Lis and have life well spent in swanky Airports being “frisky” !!!!

  4. The author seems having no idea about training and junior leadership of CAPF. Further also he doesn’t having any idea about duties being performed by CAPF. Very few citizen in this country know that when there will be BSF; SSB;ITBP will also hold the ground in defence. Vital installations security will also be looked after by these forces. The point raised by author regarding very often use of CAPF by states seems genuine. CRPF role in anti naxal operations and kashmir can’t ignored. Further author has stated regarding the casualties of CRPF and looting of weapons by maoist ; It is imperative to mention that it may happen to any force during initial induction, Till the time commanders and troops come to know the modus operandi and terrain completely. This is sort of same phenomena which was faced by the well trained, well equiped Indian Army at operations in SRI LANKA. It is really shocking that a person who never served in uniform wearing services is writting something about the training and leadership of CAPF and being supported by the veterans of armed forces. How a scholar can compare between Army and CAPF and so by the other veterans. Both are different organisations and different task and role. If you have to compare Indian ARMY than please compare with your counterparts in china and pakistan not with CAPFs. And last thing Army is also not meant for laying the chairs at the bank of Yamuna…Making of bridges at Mumbai railway stations….railway is having a well equipped and trained engineering branch……..Please write next time with more facts and ground realities..Thanks and regards.

    • I have been in uniform for 30+ years (unlike the author) and have first hand experience in operating with BSF, ITBP and CRPF, in fact, trained few of those prior to induction into naxal-hit areas. I still don’t agree with the logic of having a plethora of such forces with different names for mostly similar purposes. This clearly indicates having separate organisations from local police to CAPF units under one IPS umbrella is nothing more than to expand places for their cadres. Where we had one SP in a medium-sized town, we now have a large number of IPS officers of varying ranks, quite disproportionate to their area of responsibilities and not to mention the blue star-plates cutting through the traffic.
      Why then regular Armed Forces are called for “Aid to Civil Authorities” so often?
      It’s sad to see semi-trained men in army-pattern fatigues calling themselves “commandos”. Most of their IPS hierarchy have little knowledge of organisation, operations, logistics and ground realities. High attrition rates in naxal-infested areas display serious shortcomings. A DIG (IPS cadre on deputation) has little experience of leading these battalions into operations.
      Believe it or not, one enterprising Commandant of a COBRA unit regularly sent his officers to us on some pretexts where we vetted them and taught tactics and techniques for dealing with insurgency, they thanked after each successful operation and we genuinely felt happy for them as well.
      You need to be introspective rather than refuting this article and writer’s credentials, period!

    • Ashok Jhajaria, did the Army say they would do the bridges or the chairs? But if asked do they say no ?! The point is the Army has the capability and necessarily so. But why are the CAPF not well led and more economical is the question ,,, why must they emulate the Defence Services in Manner of Uniform, why can they not be “”Flashy”” Enough in Khaki and come out with Blue Disruptive? Have you seen the Republic Day Parade off late ……… The over done Zari & Brocade is, to say the least, ridiculous !!! Its for the CAPF to reflect but with their own cadre sidelined it is not happening anytime soon !!!

  5. Writer seems a modern Kalidas. Having too much knowledge. Anyways… Why does India need Central Forces be it CPMF or Army when we have such brave scholars who can fight every internal security situation and war from their office? The Print can send it’s battery of journos to border, to hold elections , to fight Naxals, to flood relief. After all India has got several media houses with pool of talent to defend nation because these journalists have most critical training and experience of handling national security and defence issues. Govt must scrap Army n paramilitary forces to give way to world’s most professional and capable Armed Force called Indian Journalist.

  6. As a whole, I appreciate the article with few wrong facts and some wrong perceptions. Most countries having federalism has also federal paramilitary organisations under interior ministries for border guarding and internal security tasks and keeping with size and security problems of India, still we don’t have sufficient manpower and resources with CAPFs. Out of more than 15,000 Kms of land borders still almost 3000 Kms of Border with Myanmar is almost unguarded or say thinly guarded. Indo- Tibetan border also needs much more efforts than what is already available.
    Some wrong facts – Equipping policy of each force is as per the task assigned and is a dynamic process. Procurement issues are with all GoI organisations including Armed Forces.
    2. No burden of pension as mentioned in article as since 2004 CAPF officers and jawans are building corpus of their own pension by contributing 10% of their salary every month with government.
    3. As per spectrum of conflict and need to use force, government has range of forces available for deployment. Army cannot be called for internal security duties frequently. BSF after successfully performing its task in Kashmir handed over situation to CRPF in 2004. Today fair and transparent elections cannot be held without deployment of CAPFs. In fact every time we have to pull out training companies for such tasks badly effecting our training and much needed R&R.
    4. Leadership issue is also exaggerated as there are only few IPS officers at top and mid and junior level leadership is with relatively newly created cadres which are growing with time. We have officers upto Addl DG level from Cadre now. Secondly martyrdom issue and jawan to Officer ratio vis a vis Army is concerned, firstly there are only 13 officers sanctioned in a Bn of 1210 strength whereas an Infantry unit of 800 has 24 officers. Secondly offensive tasks of army demand young officers leading small groups like platoons whereas CAPFs has Insprs/ SIs at that level of command. Army units are having strict regimentation where men and officers remain is same unit throughout their service. Cohesive units are formed based on same cast or creed like Sikh, Mahar, Gurkha etc whereas CAPF units are an example of national unity. Army has young age profile in lower ranks by way of compulsory retirement with Ex servicemen status whereas CAPFs have a jawan of a company commander of 57 years of age. Only max 10% or Armed Forces are deployed on active duty and have facilities for training, rest and recoupment whereas CAPFs are fully committed and always on the move. So actually what CAPFs need is more support and better environment and opportunities rather than only criticism. Jai Hind

    • Good comment but the question remains on need for creating various CPMF organisations for nearly identical purposes. Why cannot we have only BSF instead of ITBP and SSB, for example? Are their purposes so different that needed separate organisations? Why like regular Army units the same BSF unit be deployed in varying climatic and geographical conditions or alternatively have permanently located to gain more expertise in respective areas? Nothing to boast about successful security during elections, it’s their job! After all entire spectrum of “internal security” is the responsibility of police and such forces. While BSF guards IBs, CRPF and police look after internal security.
      As for the officer cadre, army battalions, although authorised 27-28 officers, rarely have less than half of the strength even in LC environment. Only the RR units have some respectable officer strength chiefly due to the dire necessity, officers are milched from regular units.
      The multiplicity of border-police force have very serious implications and often jeopardise national security. BSF and ITBP and increasingly getting loggerheads with Armed Forces on this issue. My personal experience of early 2000s where BSF was actually began “hating” army reinforcements to prevent infiltration in Jammu-Pathankot regions.
      An article in India Today brought out rivalry between ITBP in Ladakh with the Army Corps HQs where ITBP refused to give vital border feedbacks to army saying it’s “reporting channel” is MHA!!! Why infiltration still take place in the plains of Jammu region where I have noticed BSF 2-man piquets every 50m?
      Of course no need to paint everyone with the same brush, I have also witnessed valour of BSF soldiers who successfully fought the enemies on multiple occassions.
      Here we talk about the need for multiple organisations for similar functions that favours the IPS cadre who have fingers in every pie from local police to central including SPG, NSG and what not! All problems of management, administration, training, etc, lies with cadre officers upto unit levels. While training CRPF and ITBP battalions, none of these DIGs and IGs found it prudent to visit and see that and that’s the level of functional efficiency we talk about.
      Comparison with Armed Forces is simply out of context. Under no circumstances CPMF is expected to perform duties of armed forces; they are neither trained not equipped for the same. But at the same time it will be really good if CPMF successfully ensures internal security without losing valiant young men and for this, they have to review, retrain and reorganize themselves rather than being unsatisfied comparing with the Armed Forces.
      Why was the lateral intake of short service army officers and well-trained infantry/artillery/armoured corps soldiers into CPMF has been stopped, is not really understood; may be they saw them this as threat to their own existence too. An experienced army officer will definitely be better suited than less-experienced IPS in these circumstances of dealing with border management and counter-naxal operations.
      Well choice still rests with the IPS hierarchy, they don’t want dilution of their “superiority”!
      However, misuse of regular forces and their materiel at the behest of cheap popularity has always been regressive, such as building foot bridges in Mumbai, but what can be done if the gullible Defence Minister orders that? In addition to losing vital bridging material training and man-hours were wasted, all the while those responsible for that had nice nap at their homes, drawing full salaries.

  7. A very good article. The author has given some facts and figures which cannot be refuted as the sources of such information have also been quoted. Some commentators believe that the CAPF’s can be deployed where the Armed Forces have failed to perform their primary role or unwarranted secondary roles entrusted to them by the Central Government. They are welcome to their belief and can continue to do so. It has, however, been proven time and again as to which organisation enjoys the confidence of the Nation and I find it futile to comment on this fallacious belief. Coming to the main issue of a disproportionate increase in the strength of the CAPF’s via a vis the Armed Forces. It must be realised that the Country has finite resources. By substantially increasing the allotment of these resources to enhance the strength of the CAPF’s, the necessary funds are being frittered by the Government. There is a fallacious belief in the political hierarchy that there is a need to have a counter to the possible take over by the Armed Forces. Our Armed Forces are too professional to delve into the domain of politics and have proven their track record over a period of 70 years. It may pay the Country better dividends to improve the military weapons profile in an era of adversarial neighbors. The other issue which needs to be considered is that, we as a Nation, are gradually becoming a one party Country, which may necessitate relatively stronger CAPF’s for helping governance. This is a worrying trend and needs analysis by some think tanks who are not beholden to the Government.

    • True, sometimes I envy CAPF men carrying H&K MP-5, X-95, Beretta, CZs, SG sniper rifles, ballistic helmets, etc. Compared to an infantry battalions, these units are fantastically equipped and armed.
      I fear, seeing the trend, if these weapons fall into the hands of Naxals and Maoists.

  8. Its a very complex issue as it is about enforcement of western values and laws in a society that is not only fractured on caste, communal, linguistic and ethenic lines, but is also rooted largely in a medieval mindset. We need to understand that the renaissance witnessed in the western world that gave primacy to the humanistic thoughts and values never found free expression here.
    And so we have a situation here wherein highly corrupt & politicized law enforcement agencies of the states are responsible for enforcing laws(largely western in nature)that are shown little respect by a sizable segment of the society. And given our stronger regional identities as compared to our sense of national identity, we have a dangerous situation wherein highly militarized law enforcement agencies of the states can actually threaten the integrity of the nation. Therefore, until we have inculcated a strong sense of national identity amongst our citizens that over-rides their regional/linguistic/communal identities, it would not be a good idea to militarize the law enforcement agencies of the states. It would be better to have strong CAPFs under the firm control of the centre with an all India mandate.
    The other benefit that accrues from this is that a credible hedge is maintained against the bogey of a military coup, no matter how fallacious that line of reasoning may appear. Moreover, the army can be kept away from fighting ‘small’ wars amongst its own citizens and thus stay away from internal politics of the worst kind. It will also let them prepare for the conventional threats from across the borders.

  9. The main reason for this is poor administration by beaurocrats and politicitions. They want large force to protect themselves and large force to counter Army if required. The border managament of India is very poor and have multiple control

  10. An excellent article… hits the Nail on the head… the facts are for all to see… the casualties speak for themselves !!!! Its a total exposure !!!

    The critics seem to be the affected party themselves…. those who want enjoy the freebies at the expense of the untrained and ineffective cops. This is exactly what happens when you leave the nation running to Inexperienced and corrupt bureaucrats who have no idea of either Security or of Policing…. they only look for personal gains…… Salient features of the facts are :

    A totally under trained force

    Weak leadership (compare the Officer to men casualty ratio to the Army or RR) also compare the Officer-men relationship and cohesiveness with the Army & RR

    Senior leadership has no idea of CI or CT ops because they are neither trained nor experienced in it…. reactions are shoddy
    Impetus is on VIP Security and use of this manpower on Personal Administration and servant duties to the Officers, bureaucrats and Politicians….

    The nation is being taken for a ride at the Taxpayers money…..

    The aspect of the rations being siphoned has been adequately exposed by a BSF Jawan on National media…

    Sad but true…. the Nation needs to know the truth…. no point hiding it ….. must accept and make amends before it is too late and we end up creating a Monster…. which we won’t know how to handle….. and then the Army will have to he xalked to sort them out…..

  11. A dangerous trend indeed. What the author has missed out are several very important issues:-
    1. Such expansion is at the cost of Armed forces which have over the past decade seen a reduction in budget.
    2. CAPF expansion indicates either or both facts; the Govts inability to find solutions for settling militant activities and perhaps a growth in such acts of law and order within the country.
    3. Gross inefficiency of State Forces.
    A study carried out by experts brought out the poor levels of training and leadership in the CPOs commenting that training facilities we’re such that a policeman had only two bullets available for practice firing per year and that he could undergo training only once in a period of 20 years!
    Further, funding of such expansion as well as modernisation are a drain on the country’s budget, money is diverted at the cost of development, healthcare, education and much more.
    Lastly, it is only in the interest of citizens that armed conflict be reduced to a minimal and a sense of security prevails so that investment increases in areas of economic growth, job creation and good health of concerned states.

    • Is the Indian Army ready to be deployed in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Naxal infested areas of Bihar, and do the dirty job of anti Naxal and anti Maoist Ops against the unseen enemies?

      • Army is ready to be deployed but politicians and civil services do not want it to be deployed in case the Indian Army goes the way of Pakistani Army and takes over the country. This is the main reason why CAPFs are being expanded.

  12. Army can tackle any damned situation on the mother earth. CAPF and police are used in support only where civilians are involved. There is no work which CAPF can do better than the army. CAPF and police are used in support in civilian environment which is basically the responsibility of civil administration, police and CAPF.

  13. The editor seems to have less knowledge about Indian security scenario. The CAPFs are for special assigned tasks like border security, Industrial, airport, internal security, anti terrorism, anti naxalism, anti riots and other internal disturbances. They are designed to meet the most difficult tasks that the regular army was not able to tackle it. They are deployed not only in Indian security but also they are regularly deployed in UN Peace keeping missions. So it is requested to be have a little sense of knowledge or need to consult with any body having specialised knowledge before publishing.

    • What do you mean by “regular Army was not able to tackle it? Brother, these were never army’s job! Correct your English.

    • You need to correct your knowledge on CAPFs. Whatever the author has said has facts and elements of truth. I am a CAPF officer, and know the state of affairs in these Forces.

  14. Best way to control maoism is by empowerment of the local state police level central forces only for guidance and training

  15. This article is a classic example of having text book knowledge of something but having no practical exposure to it. Almost every thing like budget rise for CAPFs has been taken from one article or other, without giving a thought that even at present level it is abysmally low. The author has not interacted with any officer or jawan and knows nothing about training. Shabby article.

  16. The writer, while underlining perils of current trend has hammered a perfect balance. It’s high time, MHA needs to wake up to the call and mend the approach to policing. Appetite for outsourcing non lucrative and monotonous duties to CAPF sply CRPF, amongst Civil Police SP have been increasing. Top notch either in state or at MHA in centre more than willingly come to aid by being as generous as possible.

  17. And, do you know these poor guys are as civilian as peon … but, spending more than 9 months a year away from families!

  18. The observations of writer is notable. The article is highlighting the real situation of Indian States. They are more depending on the use of CAPF personnel rather than state police. You can see the CAPF personnel performing duties on each occasions which were previously handled by state police. There is a growing tendency for demand of CAPF personnel in any law and arrangment inspite of its seriousness …
    Nice article…..

    • CAPF performing duties of police while policemen are busy arranging hafta. Ironically, both headed by the same IPS cadre.

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