India gets first crack special operations unit
India is boosting its firepower for more frequent surgical strikes like tactical operations and secret missions with setting up of the first-of-itskind special operations division, comprising elite commandos from all three services -Army, Navy and the Air Force.
Sources told India Today TV that a Major General rank officer from Army's Special Forces, the Para Commandos, has been appointed to head this division which will soon start functioning.
"Recruitment for tri-service special operations division is underway and soon it will have a substantial number," said an official.
The Special Forces or the commando wings of each force work separately but the idea is to have a common pool that can train and carry out sensitive missions within and outside the country, while maintaining secrecy.
Carrying out operations across the borders, and specific antiterror missions targeting terror infrastructure will be the focus of this tri-service special force.
"Sometimes, these kinds of operations require skills that need to be synergised from all three wings of the armed forces," sources said.
"A special division specifically meant for these high-value operations will be better prepared in executing these operations to get better results," said an official. It will also be able to launch missions at a short notice. The Para Commandos of the Army, marine commandos popularly known as Marcos of the Navy and Garud commandos of the Air Force will be part of this special operations division.
The division will work under the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) responsible for synergising the functioning of the three forces and headed by a Lt General rank officer. "The concept is that all three services can come together whenever required but for that, it's important that they train and live together. To begin with, the headquarters have to be raised comprising personnel from all three services. Once that's done, people can begin to be posted," said Lt Gen Satish Dua (Retd) who headed the IDS till last year when the planning was underway.
Sources said, "To begin with, it will have 150-200 personnel but the numbers will be gradually increased and the plan is to have a 2,000-strong commando triservice division. The numbers from the Army will be more than the other two services."
It was the Naresh Chandra Committee, formed in 2012, that recommended the setting up of three special commands -Cyber, Space, and Special Operations to meet new challenges regarding national security.