The Indian Special Forces: Dont we need consolidated effort

25 12 2008

Source: Outlookindia

army’s director general of

military operations (DGMO). Within the directorate, Division 8B, headed by a brigadier, which looks after all Special Forces (SF) operations, was immediately put on alert, say army sources. Soon commanding officers of three other SF units—1 Para (SF), 9 Para (SF) and 10 Para (SF)—were similarly alerted. Unfortunately, all three were terribly pressed for manpower, since their men had been committed to counter-terrorist operations in the Valley.

another SF unit, much closer to Delhi, stationed next to an airbase in Agra. It even had the planes to transport men.
This was 2 Para (SF), designated strategic reserve unit of army HQ.

Lidder’s recommendations? Some salient points:

  • The tasking/execution of SF operations are unique and handling officers at army HQ are unfamiliar with it. This must change—specialists must take over.
  • SF units now function in isolation. They must come under one professional, unified command with access to the highest political authority. This is essential as special ops involve high political risk.
  • There is no mechanism in army HQ to execute politico-military missions. It still depends on the DGMO despite several proposals to the contrary.
  • The mindless expansion of special forces units must stop immediately.
  • Special forces must not be part of parachute battalions. They must have a separate identity.
  • A special SF budget must be allocated. Currently, they are equipped piecemeal, not even provided complete equipment packages.
  • Units must have full complement of sanctioned strength of officers at all times.
  • Direct link with civilian intelligence agencies needed.

Lidder was among the pioneering batch of officers when the first SF unit was created in 1968.