The Sikkim government has deployed India Reserve Battalion (IRB) jawans in villages located in East and North Sikkim close to the Sino-India border amid the standoff between the two countries, a senior police officer said on Tuesday. The armed IRB jawans have been deployed since the past week on the direction of the state government, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Range, Prawin Gurung told reporters.
He, however, refused to divulge the number of IRB jawans deployed.
Gurung said as per the state government's order, the IRB jawans have been deployed in villages near Lachen, Lachung and Thangu in North Sikkim and Kupup and Sherathang in East Sikkim.
These villages have a sizeable civilian population and are located very close to the international border, the DIG said.
"The deployment of armed state police personnel in border villages is a routine exercise," Gurung said.
"There is tension between the two nations and Sikkim too is a sensitive border state," he added.
"It is a protocol to provide backup to the Army and assist them in the border areas whenever there is border tension," Gurung said.
The state government also has a responsibility to act in such situations and beef up vigil in the border villages, and keep the villagers informed about developments taking place, he said.
"The deployment is a precautionary measure so that in case of any emergency situation, the lives and properties of the residents living in the border area can be protected," the police officer said, adding the state government too was duty-bound to instil confidence among the people.
The Sikkim government had not deployed IRB jawans in border villages even at the height of the 2017 Doklam standoff.
Elaborating on this point, Gurung said that the IRB jawans were not deployed then as only a small part of Sikkim in a very remote location was part of the Doklam standoff.