NEW DELHI — Lack of agreement on who would control a separate Indian Special Forces Command (SFC) has stymied creation of the unit despite the military's urgent desire for one. an the urgent felt- need within the Indian defence forces to set up a separate Special Forces Command (SFC) there is lack of consensus on who will control the command if created.
Indian Army officers said y quietly that Defence Ministry the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) do not want to relinquish give away the control of the SFC to the defense forces, while MoD the bureaucrats claim in MoD say there is inter-service rivalry within the defense forces regarding who will control of the SFC is the primary problem.
The Jan. 2 terrorist attack on an Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Pathankot near the Pakistan border has opened a fresh case for establishing setting of an SFC.
Whereas a special committee, the Naresh Chandra Committee, set up by the MoD had strongly recommended in 2013 that a Special Forces Command in 2013, the previous government had left the decision to the new government. However, the new government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi government remains quiet and non-committal on the issue, setting up a SFC, said Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst.
There are Multiple factors are affect that are impacting delaying in implementation of ing recommendations of the Naresh Chandra Committee recommendations, said Rahul Bhonsle, retired Indian Army brigadier general and defense analyst here.
"Institutional roadblocks are apparent where ownership of such assets is leading to inability to build a consensus on placing these under a single commander. Moreover, given the National Security Guard (NSG) is under the Ministry of Home Affairs, placing the same under the Special Forces Command has become a major issue," Bhonsle said.
Other delays are a Among the other reasons for delay in setting up a SFC is lack of understanding among the political leadership of how to use of use of such assets strategically, by the political leadership and reluctance to create a centralized command-and-control structure set up for such a potent force, added Bhonsle.
No MoD official would say commit whether an SFC would be established, set up at all, but a retired senior bureaucratic from MoD said in private that there is rivalry among the Army, Navy and Air Force over which would within the defence forces-the Indian Army, The Navy and the Indian Air Force on who will take command.
"In setting up of an SFC there is no intra-service rivalry. The problem as I see it is it is not only lack of political will but more importantly not knowing," said Prakash Katoch, retired Indian Army lieutenant general and considered a specialist on special forces.
Stressing his point on the division of opinion between the bureaucrats and the military, Indian defence forces, Katoch said, "The politico-bureaucratic combine has no idea how to employ special forces. The military (Indian defence forces) in any case is out of strategic security policy formulation. This has been the case with every government."
Katoch says, The top person man of the Indian National Security Guard, (NSG), a special force, is an officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS) and not from the Indian defense forces.
Currently, India's the special forces in India are under different organizations and report to different ministries and heads. They are not integrated under a unified command to be able to deliver the desired punch at the required place and time, Katoch said.
A lack of clarity about the special forces' role adds confusion over its structure and therefore indecision on its creation, he said. The ambiguity on the special forces' structure of Special Forces basically stems from a lack of clarity on the role of the special forces is another reason attributed to indecision on the formation of a separate Command for the Special Forces.
"The requirement of a Special Forces Command is to offset the great strategic asymmetry of both China and Pakistan having advanced sub-conventional capabilities (which they are employing pro-actively) while India is lagging behind. That is why we have been at the receiving end through proxy wars," Katoch said.
An Indian Army official said the special forces can be used for strategic tasks, including deterrence against irregular and asymmetric warfare, such as the use of proxy fighters. [asymmetric warfare is when the two fighting countries deploy unconventional means to fight war like Pakistan trains terrorists and then pushes across to India in a proxy war].
In addition to clarity on the establishment of a Special Forces Command, Indian Army officers said there is a shortage of essential weaponry and equipment for special forces. The shortages include lightweight, hand-held laser target designators; advanced lightweight, long-range global communications to call in multiple weapon strikes; intelligence and surveillance systems; specialized vehicles that can be air-lifted; corner shots, devices to see through walls; hand-held electronic warfare weapons, etc.
"It is unlikely that India will have an SFC in the near future given the quietness by the government on the need to create a Special Command," says Mehta said.