For the Assam Rifles, the ambit of their duty goes beyond just being the sentinels of the Northeast. 

Not only do they guard the Indo-Myanmar border areas, but they also impart skills to local youths to stop them from getting drawn to drugs and provide physical training to join the armed forces. 

Being the "friends of hills people", the country's oldest paramilitary force has been carrying out the exemplary dual service of guarding the porous 1,642-km long Indo-Myanmar border and counter-insurgency operations.

Guarding an open border is a difficult task. There is a free movement regime in place for uninterrupted travel to each others' territories. People of both countries can travel 14km inside each others' boundary. 

Though there are no cases of insurgency in Mizoram, the state has been grappling with a drug menace. Many youths have been drawn towards the usage of contraband and narcotics which is a major concern for the state administration and the Assam Rifles. 

“Our concerted endeavour to plan and conduct joint operations, based on specific intelligence inputs has been very consistent and successful in recovering Weapons and Narcotics," Assam Rifles 23 Sector Commandant Brig Digvijay Singh said. 

Apart from anti-smuggling operations, "we have bolstered cordial relations with the state government and local population", he said.

Presently, around 100 youths including girls are being given physical training to facilitate their way into the armed forces. Since the first week of March, two hours of stringent training is being provided to these youths. Another recruitment rally will be held on May 1. 

"We (Assam Rifles) are called 'Friends of the Hills people' and it is our moral responsibility to take care of them. Our force is very popular in the local populace. We are not only providing pre-recruitment training in Aizawl but also in the far-flung and border areas," 46 Battalion Assam Rifles Commander Col Viplav Tripathi said.

Riflewoman Lucy Ramtharmawi of the 46 Assam Rifles, who was selected in 2017 is now training the youths. 

"I was selected in 2017 and got training at Dimapur for nine months. I have also served in Jammu & Kashmir. Now, I am giving training to the selected candidates besides doing gate duty," she said.

The Assam Rifles select the youths who are medically fit. As per an official, they do not select the aspirants if they are found to be indulging in drugs abuse. For a written examination, the force provides free coaching and accommodation facility. 

Mangal Jyoti Chakma, an aspirant said, "I am very happy that I am selected to get pre-recruitment training. In my village, people are happy with the kind of job the Assam Rifles are doing for us."