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New tri services special ops division, meant for surgical strikes, finishes 1st exercise today

The week-long exercise in Gujarat saw personnel of the Army, Navy commando unit and Air Force’s Garud test drills of the division.

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New Delhi: The newly-raised special operations division of the armed forces — comprising commandos from the special forces of the Army, Marine Commando unit of the Navy and Garud of the Air Force — concluded its first week-long exercise Saturday in Gujarat.

The exercise, highly placed sources in the security establishment said, was to test the drills and capabilities of the brand new division and pinpoint the challenges faced by it, so that they can be worked on.

Set up in May this year, the tri services Armed Forces Special Operations Division was aimed at sharpening the military’s operational capabilities in conventional war and anti-terror operations.

The division is meant for lethal surgical strikes and crossborder operations.

While the division had been recommended by the Naresh Chandra Committee on Defence management in 2012, it was only announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Combined Commanders’ Conference in September 2018.

The committee had recommended setting up three commands — Special Operations, Cyber and Space — to further strengthen India’s national security by addressing emerging challenges.

The concept of this division is also influenced from the US, which has the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Also read: Indian Army tanks now have sharper night vision equipment developed by DRDO

‘Meant for crippling attacks’

The new division will be capable of carrying out crippling attacks against enemy targets miles away, even inside enemy territory. It will have about 2,000 commandos drawn from the Special Forces of the Army, Marine Commando unit (MARCOS) of the Navy and Garud of the Air Force.

An accomplished special forces operative and Sri Lanka war veteran Major General A.K. Dhingra heads the tri-services division. He is from the elite 1 Para Special Forces Regiment.

Sources said Lt Gen PJS Pannu, deputy chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Operations) played a major role in shaping the division. He retires on 1 October this year.

The division will be under the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), responsible for synergising the functioning of the three forces and headed by a Lt General-rank officer. It is expected to be the first choice of the government for undertaking any major counter-terrorism operation both within and outside the country.

While the Army has a strength of around 6,000 special forces personnel, both Navy and the IAF have around 1,000 each.

Special forces specialise in close-quarter combat situations to control well-defended positions of the enemy and can carry out any task anywhere behind enemy lines.

A senior officer from the military explained that naval commandos, for instance, go to enemy coasts to destroy shore defences so that a bigger force can come in.

The new division would be directly responsible for covert missions in support of the main thrust, specialised operations in explosives, or debilitating attacks.

A step towards integration

The creation of the division was hailed as the first step towards the integration of the three services, with the special commandos of the three services being brought together under a common command and control structure.

The post of CDS announced by PM Modi in his Independence Day speech this year, is set to further integrate the three services.

The division was to initially have 150-200 personnel but the numbers will be increased to have a 2,000-strong commando tri-service division. The numbers from the Army will be more than the other two services, according to reports.

A source in the security establishment had told ThePrint that the special operations division will be critical in carrying out cross border operations and surgical strikes.

“With highly trained commandos from all three divisions who would work closely with each other, the division will be the first choice of the government for highly sensitive critical operations, including those targeting terror infrastructure across borders in a short span of time,” the source said.

Also read: This is how more Army jawans can become officers under new Bipin Rawat plan

This report has been updated with additional information

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  1. Feature request for Print – can you please start displaying the IP address based location of folks commenting on your news articles.

  2. Give Kashmir to the people of Kashmir who changed the demographics to a Muslim majority then give other parts of India as well in future where muslims will be a majority and ask for Independence. Kashmiris killed 8 lakh Kashmiri Pandits ! What was that?! Genocide!! Radical Islam should be stopped! Look at Paki PM he is calling for Jihad in Kashmir ! It has got nothing to do with human rights but Islam!! And changing the demographics of an Indian state!

  3. The views of Kabir nothing but pessimistic. Imran is threating and Kabir is developing cold feet. Does he even understand what he says or is he a Paki. How long should we suffer. He shall give his piece of mind to Imran. We have suffered for more than four decades only because of the timid xongress polixies. We remained poor because of xongress policies. India is respected now and I Dian PMs word is being taken seriously. We are expanding an reducing our poverty with a huge pace. More and more cities are becoming smart,metros are being built, railways are getting speedier, so many air xompanies are operating and even a normal person travels by air. Kabir, I can understand your worry, if India becomes powerful, people like you who are Paki agents will lose their monthly pay. So keep your this hard earned knowledge and salute Bharat Mata, atleast once.

  4. The SF comammd proposed under Naresh Chandra committee report is different from what has got created, and fails to bring in the advantages that would hav accrued with it.

  5. We have 2 million para military police forces all over the country just keep our own Indian population down, this excludes the army.
    Are we really are living in a democracy?
    It seems that the time when India was a colony has NOT disappeared. The poor of India still continue to be in some sort of colonial rule.
    The Indian state continues to employ armed people, what we need is more skilled productive factory workers and a strong robust economy.
    We live in a nuclear neighbourhood, a surgical strike Against Pakistan will result in retaliation. The last time there was retaliation from the air force of Pakistan. This could have easily escalated into a conventional war, and then into a nuclear one.
    This government is playing a dangerous game, these ignorant Nationalists of the RSS will result in the destruction of millions. Just as the mad Hitler actions resulted in the death of millions of people right across Europe.
    We all should heed the warning that the Prime Minister of Pakistan gave to the world in the UN. This was no rhetoric, he was deadly serious, the consequences of this brinkmanship could be catastrophic.
    We should strive for peace and deescalation, it would mean leaving the Kashmir people to determine their own future, Which is only fair and democratic. This will solve the Kashmir issue and bone of contention between India and Pakistan. We should forget nationalism it is not going to feed or educate the poor.
    Nationalism is a great betrayal up for people, distorts the mind and is a very ugly thing indeed, India will never be a rich country or better off with more territory, we must have other priorities, look at Hong Kong and Singapore, it is not territory in the modern world that determines our collective happiness, it is the economy, Health, housing, and full employment. It is having a standard of living to enjoy the fruits of life, nationalism and territory does not give us these things, it gives us just the opposite.

    • Few questions for you
      1. Why so many Invader successfully invaded India ? During a time when India and China’s economy contribute 3/4 of world’s economy. Now why there was no invasion in China during this time?

      2. Hong Kong was economically superior to China but as it’s economy is stagnated look what/how China is doing it. Now compare it with Taiwan what’s the difference

      3. Before going to Malaysia take the example of Switzerland a tiny country with sizable military why, answer is Poland during world war or Norway, Finland, Georgia, Ukraine during last few decades. In case of internal threat look at half of middle east, half of the Isis recruitment were from Europe why ?
      Now coming to Malaysia look at its current policy predict it’s future

      4. Look at Europe before and after EU/NATO,
      Why was Britain a super power during 17-18th century, why USA during industrial revolution upgrade its army?

      If you read history completely you will get the answer.

      “to be a successful sports person you need to be fit and healthy”

    • All very good points Kabir..or Kasaab or whatever your real name is. Lets start with honesty even if you’re cloaking as an Indian, these points are also very relevant in your country Pakistan, a good place to practice what you preach. Just stop using terror as a policy and the whole region will advance and prosper. Look where you are due to your policies and look where Bangladesh is, whose existence is only half as long as yours, who actually suffered the genocide your PM talks about..but perhaps isnt a history (or geography) buff to know your role in it!

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