New Delhi: Amid India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh, the Centre is examining a proposal to provide a more active role to Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to avoid future conflicts between the Indian Army and China's People Liberation Army (PLA).

Official sources said discussions were underway to give a lead role to ITBP in forward areas, first in the middle and eastern sectors, along the LAC. A senior official added, "Once the disengagement process is completed, the arrangements may be proposed to Beijing for setting up a formal channel between China's Border Defence Regiment and ITBP."

India shares a 3,488-km border with China. Following the recommendations of the government to have 'One Border One Force', ITBP was assigned India-China border in 2004 and replaced Assam Rifles in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The Army, however, favours operational control of ITBP citing better and coordinated border management, a move opposed by the Union home ministry.

At present, ITBP has 180 border outposts, with a strength of about 140 soldiers at each of them. The Centre in 2020 sanctioned additional 47 border outposts, with 34 for Arunachal Pradesh and the remaining for the western theatre. The frequent border skirmishes have also prompted the government to ramp up surveillance and beef up equal presence along the border. The deployment of Chinese forces along the LAC is estimated to be more than 50,000, official sources said.