NEW DELHI: As many as 260 personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were on Sunday awarded the Union home minister’s Special Operation Medal coinciding with the National Unity Day, for various special operations carried out by them in Eastern Ladakh. More than 390 personnel belonging to the police force in Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala and Karnataka along with those from the NIA, the CISF, the NDRF and the ITBP have been chosen for the medal.The awardees include Deepam Seth, then IG, North West Frontier ITBP who was a member of the Indian delegation for the 10 rounds of Senior Highest Military Commander (SHMC) level talks with China. The extensive negotiations had resulted in a breakthrough in February 2021 and the process of disengagement of troops from forward locations was initiated.
The medal is conferred to security forces for special operations in areas such as terrorism, border action, arms control, prevention of narcotics smuggling and rescue operations. It was notified by the MHA in 2018 to be conferred on state and Union territory police forces, Central Police Organisations (CPOs), Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFS) and other security organisations throughout the country.
This is the highest number of Union home minister’s Special Operation Medals to ITBP or any other organisation on one occasion. The ITBP personnel honoured on Sunday had safeguarded the borders in Ladakh in extreme conditions with Operation ‘Snow Leopard’. The force carried out a high-level of strategic planning and efficient execution of ground operations with complete synergy and collaboration between all sister organisations, said an ITBP statement issued on Sunday.
As many as 16 personnel of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have been awarded the medal this year, according to the home ministry. And among them was senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sonia Narang.
In 2019, ITBP was awarded 16 Union home minister’s Special Operation Medals for its operation ‘Daredevils’ carried out by its mountaineers to search and rescue a mountaineer’s team from Nanda Devi East in Uttarakhand.
The Union home minister’s Special Operation Medal is given to the personnel of Central armed police forces (CAPFs), Central police organisations (CPOs), state police and other security agencies to recognise only those operations which have a high degree of planning, high significance for the security of the country or states or Union territory and that have significant impact on the security of a large section of society.