Seventeen Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel have been awarded police service medals of various categories on the eve of Republic Day on Monday.

Two officers have been decorated with the police medal for gallantry, three with the President’s police medal for distinguished service and 12 with police medals for meritorious service.

Officials said Deputy Commandant Rajesh Kumar Luthra has been decorated for displaying courage and presence of mind to defuse a faceoff with Chinese troops in Ladakh in July, 2019, while Assistant Commandant Anurag Kumar Singh has been given a gallantry medal for the second time for undertaking a counter-terrorist operation in Jammu and Kashmir in 2017.

The other recipients include Inspector General (IG) Deepam Seth, awarded the meritorious service medal, and Deputy IG (veterinary) Sudhakar Natarajan who has been bestowed the distinguished service medal.

Seth, a 1995-batch Indian Police Service officer of Uttarakhand cadre, is heading the ITBP northwest frontier formation based in Ladakh since mid-2019.

He has been part of the various rounds of military talks being held at the Line of Actual Control with the Chinese over the long-negotiated disengagement process in eastern Ladakh as thousands of troops from both the sides remain deployed at friction points under freezing conditions.

DIG Natarajan, who joined the ITBP in 1992, has served in high-altitude frontiers of Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and the anti-Naxal operations grid in Chhattisgarh.

The officer is credited for bettering the training standards of the ITBP canine wing, implementing new methodologies to dove-tail dog teams during operations and improving logistics for the ponies, mules and yaks that help transport rations and other paraphernalia to its border posts.

The about 90,000-personnel strong force is primarily tasked with guarding 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 apart from rendering a variety of internal security duties like conducting anti-Naxal operations. PTI