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Central Armed Police Force


According to data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to Parliament recently, 432 personnel of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) died by suicide in the last three years.


GS III: Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Central Armed Police Force (CAPF)
  2. Classification of CAPF
  3. Challenges Faced by CAPF in India and Suggestions

Central Armed Police Force (CAPF)

  • Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) is the collective term for central police organizations in India operating under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • These forces are responsible for maintaining internal security, guarding borders, and other critical tasks within the country.

Evolution of Terminology:

  • Formerly known as “Central Para-Military Forces (CPMF),” the term “Central Armed Police Forces” was adopted in 2011 to better reflect their roles and responsibilities.
  • This change aimed to emphasize their paramilitary nature and the vital role they play in ensuring national security.


  • CAPF is entrusted with a range of duties, including maintaining law and order, counterinsurgency operations, disaster response, and guarding sensitive installations.
  • They serve as a crucial component of India’s security infrastructure.

Classification of CAPF:

CAPF consists of seven distinct security forces, each with its own specialization and operational jurisdiction:

  • Assam Rifles (AR): Responsible for border security, counter-insurgency operations, and maintaining law and order in Northeast India, particularly along the Indo-Myanmar border.
  • Border Security Force (BSF): Guards India’s borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, ensuring border security and managing cross-border threats.
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF): Provides integrated security cover to vital infrastructure facilities like airports, nuclear installations, and power plants.
  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF): Assists state governments in maintaining law and order, counterinsurgency operations, and disaster response. Houses specialized units like the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA).
  • Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP): Guards the challenging Indo-China border, focusing on mountain warfare and border management.
  • National Security Guard (NSG): An elite counter-terrorism unit established after Operation Blue Star, specializing in combating terrorist activities and protecting against internal disturbances.
  • Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB): Guards India’s borders with Nepal and Bhutan, preventing cross-border threats and promoting border security.
Leadership and Structure:
  • While each CAPF has its own cadre of officers, they are headed by officers of the Indian Police Service (IPS), ensuring effective coordination and command.
  • Central Armed Police Forces play a critical role in maintaining national security, protecting borders, and responding to various security challenges.
  • They contribute significantly to India’s defense and internal stability, reflecting their dedication and commitment to the country’s safety.

Challenges Faced by CAPF in India and Suggestions:

Deployment of CAPFs:
  • Challenge: Heavy dependence of states on CAPFs for everyday law and order issues, impacting anti-insurgency and border guarding operations.
  • Recommendation: States should develop their own systems, enhance their police forces with proper training and equipment.
Training of CAPFs:
  • Challenge: States heavily rely on CAPFs for law and order, affecting their specialized training needs.
  • Recommendation: States must build their police forces’ capacity through training and equipment to ensure effective anti-insurgency and border guarding operations.
Modernizing of CAPFs:
  • Challenge: Cumbersome and time-consuming procurement process under Modernization Plan II (2012-17) for arms, clothing, and equipment.
  • Recommendation: Identify bottlenecks in procurement and take corrective action. Collaborate with manufacturers in public or private sector to ensure a steady supply.
Stress among CAPF Personnel:
  • Challenge: High suicide rates among CAPF personnel due to personal, domestic, family, and work-related issues.
  • Recommendation: Provide accommodation near deployment areas for personnel to be closer to their families, addressing mental health concerns.
Youth Engagement in Jammu & Kashmir:
  • Challenge: Need to engage youth in Jammu and Kashmir and integrate them into the mainstream.
  • Recommendation: Evaluate the impact of government schemes like Udaan and Himayat aimed at increasing employability of youth in the region.

-Source: The Times of India

February 2024