“Guardians of the Border: An Interview with IG Dhaneshwar Sharma, BSF.”

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IG Dhaneshwar Sharma is a distinguished leader in the Border Security Force (BSF) with 37 years of dedicated service. His remarkable journey exemplifies unwavering commitment to protecting India’s borders and ensuring national security. In this exclusive interview, he shares insights into his career, the challenges of border security, and the critical decision-making involved.

 

1. Can you describe your understanding of the role and responsibilities of the Border Security Force?

The Border Security Force (BSF) was established on December 1, 1965, in the aftermath of the Indo-Pak War. Before its formation, state police and the army were stationed at the border. Both countries agreed to deploy paramilitary forces to ease tension. The BSF’s role was to secure the India-Pakistan border, prevent conflicts and smuggling, and instill a sense of security among border communities. It acted as the nation’s vigilant guardian, closely monitoring the border and facilitating cooperation with the military in war preparations. The BSF served as the eyes, ears, and nose of the nation, detecting and addressing various border challenges, and collaborating with the army in times of war.

 

2. What motivated you to pursue a career in border security and law enforcement?

During my youth, I was a dedicated member of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and earned certificates. Watching war and police movies inspired me to aspire to serve my nation. My adventurous nature led me towards a career in the uniformed services, and wearing the uniform transformed me into a different person. Despite coming from a modest background, I relentlessly pursued this dream through NCC and sports during my college days. I’m proud to have realized my dream by joining the Border Security Force, where I’ve served for 37 years, experiencing a remarkable journey marked by contributions to my nation in various capacities, be it dealing with militancy, international borders, or insurgency.

 

3. How do you handle stressful or high-pressure situations, which are common in border security operations?

The training structure for BSF officers, including those entering at the director level, spans an intensive 54-week program, equivalent to a year and two weeks. This comprehensive curriculum equips individuals to handle any situation effectively. During basic training, we are exposed to border areas, where we carry out various duties and engage in numerous exercises. This training prepares us to assume leadership roles in insurgency and militancy scenarios, ensuring we can independently handle diverse situations. Throughout my 37-year career, I relied on my own judgment and leadership skills to make decisions, whether in command or on the front lines.

 

4. What do you believe are the most significant challenges facing border security today, and how would you address them?

The evolving times have brought changes to the nature of our work since 1965. Our borders differ significantly, reflecting the unique challenges they present. For example, the border with Pakistan is fraught with hostility, and BSF operates under the Army in areas like the Line of Control. On the other hand, our international border with Bangladesh, a friendly nation, poses challenges such as infiltration, contraband smuggling, narcotics, and counterfeit Indian currency. Each border presents distinct challenges. BSF troops, from basic to advanced training, are well-prepared for a wide range of scenarios. BSF is a highly sought-after force by state authorities during various events, including dealing with terrorism, insurgents, and international security concerns, as they place immense trust and confidence in our capabilities.

 

6. Have you ever encountered a situation where you had to make a quick, critical decision on the job? How did you handle it, and what was the outcome?

During my 37-year career, numerous situations demanded swift and independent decision-making. As an Assistant Commander at the border, I often faced moments where waiting for higher authorities or reinforcements was not an option, and immediate action was essential. I recall a particularly intense situation in Kashmir’s Batamalu area, surrounded by a significantly larger force. I had no choice but to position my vehicle in front of them to protect my troops, even though it meant risking our lives. In the heat of an encounter, personal safety and safeguarding the team take precedence. My instinctive decision led to a forceful response, resulting in their retreat with only one casualty and six bullet injuries. The incident had witnesses, including Mr. K.C. Sharma and K. Rajendra, who attested to the events. A militant behind me was also seriously injured.

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