Army

Special Operations Division awaits final nod from Defence Ministry

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The much-awaited proposed joint Special Operations Division to carry out missions of strategic importance is now waiting final nod from the Defence Ministry. It will be headed by a Major General rank officer of the Army. Once the Ministry approval comes through, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will review it.

The need for having such a division was flagged by the Naresh Chandra committee on security in 2012. It had also proposed setting up of Cyber and Space commands to be headed by Navy and IAF respectively to fight modern day warfare in a joint manner.

The Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), a combination of officers from three Services, submitted its final proposal for Special Operations Division to the Defence Ministry some months and it was now going through it, officials said on Sunday. They hoped the Division will get the nod soon as the proposed Division has all the assets and infrastructure ready and operational.

The idea to have such a Division, which was earlier to be known as Special Operations Command, was mooted by the Naresh Chandra committee and several military officials after the US Special Operations Command carried out the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden. Our officials opined that the Indian forces too have similar capabilities and a combined command of commandos of three Services should be formed to conduct sensitive missions within and outside the boundaries of the country, officials said.

The envisaged Special Operations Division will have about 3,000 commandos drawn from the elite Special Forces of the Army, Marine Commando unit (MARCOS) of the Navy and Garud of the IAF. The division will also have dedicated aircraft and helicopters for special missions.

As of now the Army, MARCOS and Garud operate under their respective organizations and aim of the proposed Joint Special Operations Command is to select commandos from the three services and train and equip for carrying out high value missions in synergy. Since, the Army has the largest number of commandos who are battle hardened and have the experience of such missions, it was decided that a Major General will head it, sources said.

Naresh Chandra panel had also recommended forming of Special Operations Command as India needs 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, they said.

Incidentally, the government in the last few months has cleared some proposals for procurement of specialised weaponry for the commando forces of three Services. They include sniper rifles, midget submarines, special communication systems, thermal sights and ammunition. These items will be procured from Israel, Germany, Sweden, Russia and Finland.

Meanwhile, the Naresh Chandra panel had also mooted setting up of Cyber and Space Commands. Now, they will be known as Cyber and Space Agency respectively. While the Navy will head Cyber Agency, the IAF will take charge of Space Agency, they said.

By: Daily Pioneer

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Categories: Army

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