Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Navy chief unveils joint doctrine for special forces operations

Navy chief unveils joint doctrine for special forces operations
14:41 IST

Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee and the Chief of the Naval Staff, formally unveiled the 'Joint Doctrine for Special Forces Operations', here today, authored by HQ Integrated Defence Staffs, Doctrine Branch. The function was attended by the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee Lieutenant General HS Lidder and a number of distinguished inter-service officers.

The necessity for bringing out this latest doctrine has been mooted by current global trends where such integrated forces have operated jointly in numerous highly sensitive situations. The Special Forces of every nation are potent force multipliers. To recall India's own experience, during the latter part of the 80's, its Army and the Naval Special Forces were employed in operations conducted in Sri Lanka as part of the IPKF, while, to a limited extent, the Army and the IAF were also involved in the Maldives where they went in at the request of its government in distress.

Besides synergy and jointness amongst the three Services, all future wars or conflicts will demand the Special Forces to play an increasingly dominant role at all levels of war, be it strategic, operational or tactical. Therefore, the bringing. out of this Special Forces doctrine has been most timely and apt. Not only is it visually most appealing, it consists of an introductory and information packed nine chapters. The former provides the basic information of the respective Special Forces of the three Services that is the Para Special Forces of the Army, the Marine Commandos or MARCOS of the Navy and the Garuds of the Air Force.

Subsequent chapters cover the operational environment in which the Special Forces are likely to operate. They highlight the organisational set up and special characteristics of the Special Forces, which make them ideally suited for varied role across the entire spectrum of conflict, that is from strategic and operational level tasks to unconventional warfare and counter insurgency / counter terrorism tasks. The Doctrine also charts out the ideal command and control organisation necessary for Joint Special Forces tasking, joint planning aspects at theatre level, including operational, environmental and intelligence requirements. It has also briefly covered, apart from the aspects of detailed planning, conduct of rehearsals and integration of Special Forces in the overall theatre plans. The doctrine emphasises the need for providing timely, wholesome and accurate intelligence, fire support by attack helicopters, naval gunfire, artillery, precision guided munitions and rockets for the successful conduct of special operations. The Doctrine also highlights the importance of various aspects of joint training to achieve greater cohesion and understanding necessary for conducting joint special operations.

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