New Delhi: The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force today said it has posted Lhari Dorjee Lhatoo, a 1999-batch IPS officer of the Manipur cadre, as the new commander in Ladakh to lead the troops along Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
Official sources in the ITBP said Lhatoo would replace Inspector General (IG) Deepam Seth, who was commanding the force troops deployed along the LAC with China in Ladakh.
Seth, a 1995-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Uttarakhand cadre, has been transferred to the ITBP Headquarters in Delhi, as per an order, the official sources said.
A senior ITBP official said, the transfers are “routine” as there is a practice in the force to replace personnel from “high-altitude hazardous assignment”. But it is also seen as a strategic move on the part of the border guarding force.
Lhatoo had recently joined the border guarding force. He has earlier served in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Special Protection Group (SPG), the official said, adding that the new IG is expected to take charge in Ladakh in the next few days.
He said IG Seth has been posted in the same capacity and will handle the personnel and vigilance charge at the ITBP Headquarters in Delhi.
Leh is the base for the ITBP north-west frontier and an IG-rank officer, equivalent to a Maj General rank in the Army, commands the formation that is responsible for the deployment of the troops in this part of the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China that runs from the Karakoram Pass in the Himalayas to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh.
Seth has been a part of various military talks, as a representative of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which took place with the Chinese to move forward on the long-negotiated disengagement process in eastern Ladakh.
Currently, thousands of troops from both sides are deployed at friction points under freezing conditions since May last year. He also oversaw the induction of additional ITBP troops in Ladakh that was undertaken in the wake of the standoff.
The officer was posted to head the newly-created formation in mid-2019 and was decorated with the president’s police medal for distinguished service this Republic Day.