NONGKREM (Meghalaya), March 22 (IANS): Assam Rifles will continue to guard the unfenced India-Myanmar border, and the union government has "not decided to replace" the paramilitary force, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.
The central government earlier had plans to relieve Assam Rifles from the duty of guarding the 1,643-km border with Myanmar due to shortage of officers.
"We have not decided to replace Assam Rifles at the Myanmar border. Those forces which are deployed here have done very well in their duty, and we are successful in bringing down insurgency in the region," Rajnath Singh told journalists at the Assam Rifles headquarters here in Meghalaya.
"Till now, Assam Rifles and Border Security Force have done commendable job, there is no need to replace them," the home minister said.
Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force in the country, has the twin responsibility of guarding the treacherous India-Myanmar border and also conducting counter-insurgency operations in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Nagaland.
"It will be difficult to replace it because Assam Rifles has domain knowledge about the people, terrain of the border areas and complete knowledge on the operational areas," he said.
Assam Rifles has 46 battalions, 15 of which are deployed along the India-Myanmar border. 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.