UPSC – Security Forces – BSF (Border Security Force) General Studies Paper...

UPSC – Security Forces – BSF (Border Security Force) General Studies Paper 3 -by Dr. Ashok Dhamija


Discussion about BSF (Border Security Force) which is a security force in the Syllabus of General Studies Paper 3 of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (Also freely subscribe to our YouTube Education channel with about 100 free videos on UPSC IAS and other competitive examinations):

BSF – Introduction

  • BSF means Border Security Force.
  • Till 1965, the police units of bordering States were entrusted with security of this border. The attack by a Pakistan Brigade on Sardar Post in Gujarat necessitated the requirement of an armed force to function under Union Government to ensure secured Borders. The need of the hour was to raise an Armed Force trained on the pattern of Army to defend the borders and also work like police to check trans-border crimes during peace and thereby inculcating sense of security to the border population.
  • Accordingly, BSF was set up on 01 December 1965.
  • Shri K.F. Rustamji was the first chief of BSF. He was an IP (Indian Police) officer of 1938 batch (IP was the predecessor service to IPS).
  • In List I—Union List in Schedule VII to the Constitution: Entry 2

2. Naval, military and air forces; any other armed forces of the Union.

  • BSF is governed by the Border Security Force Act, 1968.
  • BSF has been constituted for ensuring the security of the borders of India.
  • As per this Act, it is an Armed Force of the Union.
  • It is also referred to as Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) of the Union of India.
  • It is under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • BSF is the largest Border Guarding Force of the world.
  • It is responsible for protecting borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • It has 186 battalions (including 3 Disaster Management Battalions as a part of NDRF – National Disaster Response Force).
  • Its sanctioned strength is about 2,57,000 personnel.
  • BSF has been termed as the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories.
  • It has its own robust Training Institutions, an elaborated Medical Setup, an Artillery Regiment, Air and Water Wings, Camel contingent & Dog Squads

Officers of BSF

  • Director General (DG) is the head of the force.
    • Shri K.K. Sharma (IPS: 1982: Rajasthan) is the present DG, BSF.
    • He is the 23rd DG of BSF.
  • DG Kolkata for Eastern theatre
  • DG Chandigarh for Western theatre.
  • Field Formations in BSF are headed by an IG and are known as Frontiers Headquarters. There are 10 such Frontiers.
  • Under Frontiers, there are Sector Headquarters (SHQ) headed by a DIG each.
  • Each Sector HQ has under its command 4–5 Duty Battalions. Each Battalion is headed by a Commandant.
  • There are 186 Battalions in BSF.
  • 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.
  • 5 major training institutions and 10 Subsidiary Training Centres (STCs).
  • BSF maintains a Tear Smoke Unit (TSU), which is unique in India.
  • 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.

BSF’s role during peace-time

  • Securing the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.
  • Prevent trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India.
  • Prevent smuggling and any other illegal activity.
  • Anti-infiltration duties.
  • To collect trans-border intelligence.
  • BSF is also 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 main mandate of border security.
  • BSF personnel are deployed in United Nations peace keeping missions.
  • BSF’s ceremonial retreat a Wagah border is quote popular among masses.
  • Rescue and relief operations
  • National disasters

BSF’s role during war-time

  • Holding ground in less threatened sectors so long as the main attack does not develop in a particular sector.
  • Protection of vital installations particularly air-fields against enemy commandoes / para troopers or raids.
  • Limited Aggressive action against para military or irregular forces of the enemy within the overall plan of the Armed Forces.
  • Providing extension to the flanks of main defence line by holding of strong points in conjunction with other units.
  • Performing special tasks connected with intelligence, including raids.
  • Acting as guides in an area of responsibility where routes are known.
  • Maintenance of law and order in enemy territory administrated under the control of Army.
  • Provision of escorts.
  • Guarding of prisoners of war cages.
  • Assistance in control of refugees
  • Anti-infiltration duties in specified area.


  • Pistols and handguns
  • Sub-machine guns and carbines
  • Assault rifles
  • Machine guns (including LMG, MMG, HMG)
  • Sniper rifles
  • Multi-role recoilless rifle
  • Automatic Grenade Launcher
  • Artillery (including 81 mm Mortar; 51 mm Mortar; 120 mm Mortar; 105 mm Indian Field Gun).


  • Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
  • Operation Blue Star
  • Operation Black Thunder
  • Counter Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Operation Vijay – Kargil War
  • 2001 Bangladeshi-Indian Border skirmishes
  • 2001-2002 Operation Prakarm – India-Pakistan Standoff
  • 2013 India-Pakistan Border skirmishes
  • 2014–15 India–Pakistan border skirmishes
  • 2016 India-Pakistan border skirmishes

Watch the YouTube video with full explanation:

This video discusses brief details of the BSF (Border Security Force) which a security force covered under the item “Various Security Forces and agencies and their mandate” mentioned in the Syllabus of General Studies Paper 3 of the UPSC Civil Services Examination.

This video is useful for the aspirants of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (for IAS, IPS, IFS, and Group-A Central Services), and also for aspirants of other competitive examinations.

This video has been prepared by Dr. Ashok Dhamija, a former IPS.


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