Border Security Force

Border Security Force
सीमा सुरक्षा बल
Abbreviation BSF
सी सु ब

Emblem of the Border Security Force
Motto जीवन पर्यन्त कर्तव्य (Duty Unto Death)[1]
Agency overview
Formed 1 December, 1965
Employees 2,57,025 Active Personnel[2]
Legal personality Non government: Central Armed Police Forces
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency IN
Governing body Ministry of Home Affairs (India)
Constituting instrument Border Security Force Act, 1972
General nature
Specialist jurisdictions
  • National border patrol, security, and integrity.
  • Paramilitary law enforcement, counter insurgency, armed response to civil unrest, counter terrorism, special weapons operations.
Operational structure
Headquarters New Delhi, India
Minister responsible Rajnath Singh, Minister of Home Affairs
Agency executive K.K Sharma[3], Director General, BSF
Parent agency Ministry of Home Affairs
Boats 100+
Planes 22 Aircraft (as of 2009)

The Border Security Force (BSF) (Hindi: सीमा सुरक्षा बल) is the primary Border guarding force of India. It is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of the Union of India, it was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965, "for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected there with".[4][5] It is a Central Armed Police Force charged with guarding India's land border during peacetime and preventing transnational crime. It is a Union Government Agency under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs. The BSF has its own cadre of officers but its head, designated as a Director-General (DG), since its raising has been an officer from the Indian Police Service. It is an Armed Force of the Union of India tasked with various assignments from time to time.[5] The BSF has grown exponentially from a few battalions in 1965, to 186 battalions with a sanctioned strength of 2.5 lakh personnel including an expanding air wing, marine wing, artillery regiments, and commando units.[6][7] It currently stands as the world's largest border guarding force. BSF has been termed as the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories.[8]

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


A soldier of India's Border Security Force in one of the ceremonial uniforms.
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 belonging to each border state, with little inter-state coordination. BSF is a Central Armed Police force charged with guarding India's land border during peacetime 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.



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 KF Rustamji, from the Indian police service, was 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 9 April 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 specialised 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 1 Dec 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.

List of Chiefs of BSF

Mr K F Rustamji IPS[9] was the first Director General of Border Security Force from 21 July 1965 to 30 September 1974 & current Director General is Mr K K Sharma IPS since 29 February 2016.[10]

Sr No. Name Period (From) Period (To)
23 K K Sharma 29 Feb 2016 Present
22 D K Pathak 28 Feb 2014 28 Feb 2016
21 Subhash Joshi 01 Dec 2012 28 Feb 2014
20 U K Bansal 01 Nov 2011 30 Nov 2012
19 Raman Srivastava 01 Aug 2009 31 Oct 2011
18 M L Kumawat 01 Oct 2008 31 Jul 2009
17 A K Mitra 27 Feb 2006 30 Sep 2008
16 R S Mooshahary 10 Jan 2005 27 Feb 2006
15 Ajay Raj Sharma 01 Jul 2002 31 Dec 2004
14 Gurbachan Jagat 30 Nov 2000 30 Jun 2002
13 E N Rammohan 04 Dec 1997 30 Nov 2000
12 A K Tondon 01 Oct 1996 04 Dec 1997
11 Arun Bhagat 04 Dec 1995 01 Oct 1996
10 D K Arya 01 Feb 1994 04 Dec 1995
09 Prakash Singh 09 Jun 1993 31 Jan 1994
08 T Ananthachary 01 Aug 1991 31 May 1993
07 H P Bhatnagar 01 Aug 1987 31 Jul 1991
06 M C Mishra 01 Oct 1984 31 Jul 1987
05 Birbal Nath 02 Oct 1982 30 Sep 1984
04 K Rama Murti 01 Dec 1980 31 Aug 1982
03 Sharawan Tondon 01 Jan 1979 30 Nov 1980
02 Aswini Kumar 01 Oct 1974 31 Dec 1978
01 K F Rustamji 21 Jul 1965 30 Sep 1974

Wagah, Husainiwala & Sadque Border Flag Lowering Ceremony

BSF at Wagah

Every evening, at the Wagah, Husainiwala & Sadque Border that is the international border of India and Pakistan, the BSF together with the neighbouring 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 countries.

Counter-Insurgency Operations

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 in Jammu And Kashmir, Punjab, North East. While in Punjab BSF took Part in Operation like Blue Star, Black Thunder 1 & 2 till 1989 and when the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir broke out in 1989, the BSF handover the Counter Insurgency Operations to CRPF and Punjab Police and moved towards state of Jammu & Kashmir. In 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 separatist 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—chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed and the mastermind of the 2001 Indian Parliament attack—in August 2003 along with his deputy commander. The BSF raided Baba's hideout in Srinagar and he was killed in the ensuing gun battle along with his deputy chief.

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. In 2006 the Indian government has 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 that have undergone specialised 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 15 battalions of BSF are stationed in different parts of Kanker district to combat Naxal menace.


Women personnel of BSF taking part in the ceremonial retreat at the India-Pakistan border at Wagah, 2010.
Border personnel from both countries, during the Wagah Border ceremony.

The Border Security Force has its Headquarters at New Delhi and is known as Force Headquarters (FHQ) headed by a Director General. Various Directorates like Operations, Communications & IT, Training, Engineering, General, Law, Provisioning, Administration, Personnel, Armaments, Medical, Finance etc. function under the DG. Each Directorate is headed by an IG. The Eastern Theatre is looked after by Spl DG HQ at Kolkata and the Western Theatre 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 Financial Adviser of the BSF has been an Indian Revenue Service officer of the rank of Joint Secretary and also has Dy Advisers from the Indian Audit and Accounts Service and Indian Civil Account Service.

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.

Three battalions of the BSF, located at Kolkata, Guwahati and Patna, 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 medics and 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, Biological and Chemical (NBC) disasters.

BSF's role during peacetime

BSF is largely employed for Internal Security Duties and other law and order duties on requisition of the State Government. Being a Central Armed Police Force it can be entrusted with policing duties at any place apart from its mandate. [11]

BSF's role during wartime

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 kilometres (1,020 mi) Indo-Myanmar border is being guarded by Assam Rifles.

The proposed move to guard the Indo-Myanmar border follows a proposal from the BSF to take over the role by raising 45 new battalions, one headquarters of additional director general, four frontier headquarters to be headed by an IG rank official and 12 sector headquarters to be headed by DIG level officials. But recent rise in Insurgent Activities on Indo-Myanamr Border has forced the Government of India to deloy a Border Guarding Force like BSF on Indo-Myanmar Border As of 1 March 2015 March 1, 2015, it was decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs to keep the authority of this border with Assam Rifles only.


Proposed ORBAT for Myanmar Border

Rank structure (gazetted officers)

Director General (Apex Scale of the Indian Police Service) Director General of a State Police Force
Special Director General (HAG+ Scale of the Indian Police Service) Special Director General
Additional Director General (Higher Administrative Grade of the IPS cadre, also available to BSF cadre) CP, ADG
Inspector General (IG) IG, Joint CP
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Additional CP, DIG
Commandant (Comdt) SSP/DCP
Second-In-Command (2 IC) SP/DCP
Deputy Commandant (Dy Comdt) Addl SP, Addl DCP
Assistant Commandant (Asst Comdt) Dy SP, ACP
Main article: Indian Police Service

Being a central Indian police agency and having high presence of Indian Police Service officers, BSF follows ranks and insignia similar to other police organisations in India. *There is no equivalence between the ranks of the defence forces and the police forces since there is no government established relativity in terms of rank.

Roll of honour

The BSF personnel have been recipients of the following awards:

Military awards

Civil awards

Police medals

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.[13]

Pistols and handguns

Sub-machine guns and carbines

Assault rifles

Machine guns


Sniper rifles

Multi-role recoilless rifle


Air defence



Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number Comment
Fixed-wing aircraft (5)
Hawker Siddeley HS 748  United Kingdom
Tactical transport HS 748-100 2 As of 2009.[15]
Beechcraft Super King Air  United States Utility aircraft B200 1 crashed in December 2015


Embraer 135  Brazil VIP transport Embraer-135 J 2 As of 2009.[16]
Helicopters (16)
HAL Dhruv  India Utility helicopter 8 As of 2009.[15]
Mi-17  Soviet Union
Transport helicopter Mi-17
As of 2009.[15]
As of 2014.[17]

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,".

The Crocodile units have 42 commandos at present 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.[18]

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.[19] The Bangladesh government and Bangladeshi organisations 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.[20] 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[21]

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.[22]

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.[23]

In 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued an 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.[24]

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 15 February 2012.[25][26][27][28]

Planning and development

Facing difficulty in guarding riverine sections of Indo-Pak border, the BSF has started installing Farheen LASER walls to fill the gaps which saw several breach by militants from across the border.[29]


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.[30] 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.[31] 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".[32] Subsequently, India's Ministry of External Affairs summoned Canadian High Commissioner Joseph Caron and demanded that "the blatant discrimination against Indian security agencies" cease.[33] India's Minister of External Affairs, SM Krishna, condemned Canada's actions and has expressed pride in the accomplishments of the BSF.[34]

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."[35]

See also


  1. "Border Security Force". Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  3. "Border Security Force". Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  4. Government Of India (2 September 1968). "THE BORDER SECURITY FORCE ACT, 1968No. 47 of 1968" (PDF) (in English and Hindi). MINISTRY OF LAW (Legislative Department ). pp. 1–2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  5. 1 2 Border Security Force. "ROLE OF THE BSF". Border Security Force, Ministry of Home Affairs. Border Security Force. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  6. "BSF Air Wing". Border Security Force. Border Security Force. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  7. "MHA Annual Report 2015-2016" (PDF).
  8. "BSF is first Wall of Defence of India, says Home Minister Rajnath Singh at 13th Investiture Ceremony". ANI. 22 May 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  9. "Border Security Force -Photo Gallary(Civic)".
  10. "Border Security Force".
  11. 1 2 Page no. 636 & 637 of Chapter 20 India 2013 published by Publications Division of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India
  12. "". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  13. "Indian Ordnance Factories: OFB in Brief". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  14. "Anti-material rifle handed over to BSF". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  15. 1 2 3 4 S. Anandan (12 April 2009). "BSF buys 8 Dhruv helicopters". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  16. Chethan Kumar (9 January 2015). "IAF gets first overhauled Su-30 MKI". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  17. "Two new Mi-17 helicopters to bolster BSF air wing". Zee News. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  18. "Choppers, anti-mine vehicles new teeth for BSF". The Times of India. 18 January 2011.
  19. "BSF killed 136 Bangladeshis since 2009". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  20. India says 59 killed over last six months on Bangladesh border, Reuters, 24 August 2008.
  21. "Fortress India – By Scott Carney, Jason Miklian, and Kristian Hoelscher". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  22. "Channel 4 News". 24 July 2009.
  23. "BSF abducts 5 children from border". The Daily Star. 24 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  24. "India/Bangladesh: Indiscriminate Killings, Abuse by Border Officers". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  25. "Bangladesh group hacks BSF website to 'avenge border killings' - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 15 February 2012.
  27. "সীমান্তে বিএসএফ আগ্রাসন : বাংলাদেশী নাগরিকদের নির্বিচারে হত্যা ও গুম". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  28. "বেপরোয়া বিএসএফ : ২৪ ঘণ্টার ব্যবধানে চাঁপাই সীমান্তে আরও দুই বাংলাদেশীকে হত্যা". আমার দেশ. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  29. "BSF putting laser wall to fill gaps along Indo-Pak border". Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  30. "Canada calls BSF a 'violent paramilitary unit'". Hindustan Times. 21 May 2010. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  31. "Outraged India asks Canada to respond on visa row". Times of India. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
  32. "We have great respect for Indias armed forces -Canada". Times of India. 22 May 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
  33. "Visa row, India warns Canada of retaliation". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
  34. "Visa Row, India warns Canada". Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  35. "Canada regrets language used by its officials in visa letters". The Hindu Business Line. Archived from the original on 17 March 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
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