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Special Operations Command
Armed Forces Special Operations Division

In October 2018, the India's Cabinet Committee on Security approved the establishment of three agencies, namely, the Defense Cyber Agency, the Defense Space Agency and the Special Operations Command, all of which will function under the command of the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff to deal with space, cyberspace and special operations and will enhance more synergies, resource saving and sharing. This move has been a significant step forward for India in meeting with new threats.

The idea to have such a Division, which was earlier to be known as Special Operations Command, was mooted by the Naresh Chandra committee. The Naresh Chandra Committee in 2012 had recommended setting up three commands, namely Special Operations, Cyber, and Space to deal with new challenges facing national security. The committee was asked by the Government to give recommendations on fine-tuning higher defence management to enable the armed forces to fight in a fast changing warfare scenario. The Naresh Chandra panel recommended forming a Special Operations Command as India needed to enhance its unconventional and special warfare capabilities to execute politico-military and connected operations to meet unconventional challenges. The panel also felt at present the full potential of the Special Forces was not exploited and therefore there was a need to bring under one umbrella for covert operations and anti-terrorist missions,

Special Forces of the Indian three services are working together to organize a Special Operations Division to respond to potential threats and carry out sensitive missions. The new division is expected to consist of 3000 personnel in all, with Major General AK Dhingra being the first General Officer Commanding (GOC), who is a Special Forces veteran from the elite 1 Para Special Forces Regiment, had done Special Operations courses in the United States and contributed greatly in the 1987 Sri Lanka War.

The Armed Forces Special Operations Division will start functioning from November 2019, initially with a small team of commandos selected from the Special Forces of the Army, Marine Commandos (MARCOS) of the Navy, and Garud commando force of the Indian Air Forces(IAF). At present, the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Ministry of Home Affairs Forces all have had their own special forces, but their strength is dispersed and each fights separately. There are many deficiencies in tactical training and other aspect. They dont have intelligence sharing mechanisms, which means they have poor access to information, and are unable to carry out joint special strike missions of strategic or tactical significances, nor to handle any emergencies.

In addition, due to the deep contradiction among various services, especially the chaos of special operations capabilities, the theatre integrated command system has not yet been set up, and there is no unified command structure, which has become a crux hampering the effective response to complex security situations and handling of emergencies.

Therefore, under the context of the rapid changes in modern warfare situation, it has become an imperative development trend for the Indian military to build a unit with the integration of the various services strength and the capability to carry out special strike missions. The specialised teams will be responsible for conducting missions within and outside the country. The missions include targeting strategic installations, high value targets in terms of terrorists and cripple the war fighting capabilities of the enemy. The missions no doubt will be high risk given the strategic importance.

The buildup of the new division is an effective measure taken to strengthen the joint operations forces of the Indian military, with the intention of integrating the special warfare resources of the Indian three services at the command level, setting up a unified command system to enhance the capability of performing strategic joint special operations missions. In terms of strength composition, its members will be selected from elites of the Armys Parachute Regiments SF, Marine Commandos (MARCOS) of the Navy and the Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force, which clearly highlights the importance India has attached to it.




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