Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Sydney and Peshawar Siege: Reminder to Manohar Parrikar on Missing Special Forces Command

Sydney

The Tactical Assault Group (TAG) East of 4 RAR aka 2 Commando of Australian Army Special Forces just broke the 16 hour Sydney seige. The payload of Terrorism played out live on Television, as Australia experienced first hand, what is a common sight in India.

Peshawar

Pakistan Army, Special Forces in Zaraar Company of Elite SSG were choppered in from Tarbela to battle, TTP Fidayeen. The Peshawar school attack, barbaric even by Pakistan, at last count including 132 kids and others,148 were are dead. A bloody carnage, thankfully the media was kept away at an outer perimeter during the tactical assault and clearing operation handled professionally. ISPR steered the narrative and limited infowar payload to TTP.

Special Forces in Indian Army

On Vijay Diwas, India marked its victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan. A massive military triumph that resulted in the formation of Bangladesh, from East Pakistan.

India employed Special Forces very successfully during the 1971 war. It has since employed Special Forces (SF) in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Kargil, 26/11 Bombay Attacks, and ongoing counter terrorism operations in Insurgency theatres, J&K, to Punjab to the States of the North East.

The need for Special Forces beyond traditional military ORBAT, Police and Paramilitary both State and Federal, has been felt repeatedly since the days of  1965 Meghdoot Force.

Turf War and Private Armies

Outside the Army there have existed a multitude of private armies run by differing bureaucracies like SSB, SFF, Establishment 22, and recently in the NSG, staffed by all Army personnel on deputation in the SAG.

It is a symptom of India's Civil and Military disconnect that while the business end of all tactical offensive and assault is executed by Military Special Forces, myriad formations exist, using up taxpayer money for duplicate, redundant operations.

Similar distrust between the Army, Navy and Air Force and lack of joint operations and command, have given birth to MarCos and Garud, respectively.

Special Forces Command

As India struggles to stem the bleeding from the thousand cuts inflicted by Pakistan Army sponsored, Islamist insurgency, and other assorted sub-national identity based separatist movements, the need for a Special Forces Command, has never been more urgent.

Many States and other Federal authorities, CAPFs have tried unsuccessfully to set up Special Forces Commando units. These don't have the knowledge base, experience and specialist equipment or Intelligence capability to have a cogent Special Forces capability. The lines between domestic and external operations are being increasingly blurred by urban and irregular warfare. In this scenario, add cross border raids, and Terror Training Camps across the border in Pakistan. Any interdiction, insertion, evacuation requires a fungible mass of operators, logistics and elite technology.

All this requires an investment in a Special Forces Command, equal to other Army Commands, and able to dovetail with Internal and external Intelligence operatives. It further requires an investment in Engineering, Surveillance and Transport facilities across Land, Air and Sea.

The BJP led by Narendra Modi came to power over promises of better security management of India. The appointment of Manohar Parrikar as the new Defence Minister has rekindled hope of a renaissance in Defence management. After the Uri cross border raid, the new Minister has promised action, against Pakistan in 6 months. Action that promises to mitigate attacks under ominous shadow of Nuclear blackmail.

Special Forces and Coldstart: Strategic Response

The Parliament Attack laid the foundation the of Cold Start doctrine. A doctrine to negate plausible denial of Covert Ability of Pakistan played out under the Nuclear umbrella. The foundation of Cold Start does not lie so much in large formations or Strike Corps and Armour but in surgical strike capabilities. It is here that India needs Special Forces Command, so options across the covert and overt spectrum exist for the political establishment to employ as necessary,in support of homeland security and foreign policy objectives.

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