IssueNet Edition| Date : 28 Jan , 2014
Compact deadly sub unit
While discussing a monogram on Special Forces at a prominent Think Tank in New Delhi last month (December 2013), one of the discussants (a former Brigadier) opined that the “entire Parachute Regiment should form part of the proposed Special Forces Command.” It is not the stupidity and absurdity of the proposal alone but the dogged pusillanimous pursuit with which this idea of converting all Parachute Battalions to Special Forces has been followed over the years – stymieing the Special Forces; pulling them down any which way so that the Parachute Battalions can wear the Special Forces badge and more importantly, get the Special Forces allowance in the process. That this Brigadier was a former paratrooper requires no guesses. But it so happened, that he was a last minute substitute to the two-star officer in Military Operations Directorate of the Army. The latter’s name had already been mentioned in the program for the said event circulated to all concerned by the Think Tank. Why the two-star ducked was obviously to avoid uncomfortable questions since he has not served for a single day in a Special Forces unit and was probably advised to stay away by the Director General of Military Operations who happens to be Colonel of the Parachute Regiment and has never served with Special Forces either. So the Brigadier was commandeered all the way from Kolkata to do their bidding.
At such an international seminar hosted by the United Services Institution (USI) of India, New Delhi during 2005, the Deputy Defence Attaché of the US Embassy in India expressed surprise about suggestions by some veteran paratroopers that Special Forces operations should be limited to about five kilometers across the borders.
In the past, the military has been regularly participating in Special Forces seminars in both national and international levels. At such an international seminar hosted by the United Services Institution (USI) of India, New Delhi during 2005, the Deputy Defence Attaché of the US Embassy in India expressed surprise about suggestions by some veteran paratroopers that Special Forces operations should be limited to about five kilometers across the borders. In fact, he drew the attention of the audience that the Defence Minister speaking at the inaugural session stating that India’s areas of strategic interest included the Straits of Malacca, the Cape of Good Hope, the Middle-East and beyond. Later, in 2013, the USI planned a Special Forces seminar for exclusive participation by the military Special Forces, as prelude to a larger seminar at international level. However, this had to be called off because the Army refused to participate. The reason was very much obvious; the two-star officers heading the Additional Directorate General (Special Forces) under Military Operations (MO) Directorate, right from its establishment in 2006, and even the one-star deputy have continued to be those who have not served one single day in Special Forces. Naturally, answering questions in seminars implies exposure. The façade of secrecy just does not hold because nothing classified is ever discussed in Special Forces seminars at national or international levels.