ITBP was raised on 24 October 1962, under the CRPF Act, in the wake of the Sino-Indian War of 1962. The ITBP was intended for deployment along India's border with China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
In September 1996, the Parliament of India enacted the 'Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force Act, 1992' to "provide for the constitution and regulation" of the ITBP "for ensuring the security of the borders of India and for matters connected therewith". The first head of the ITBP, designated Inspector General, was Balbir Singh, a police officer previously belonging to the Intelligence Bureau.
The ITBP is also trained in disaster management, and nuclear, biological and chemical disasters. ITBP personnel have been deployed abroad in UN peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Western Sahara, Sudan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Two battalions of ITBP are deputed to National Disaster Response Force.