In a major step towards enhancing joint collaboration among the three services, the special forces of the Army, Navy and Air Force have been deployed in the Kashmir Valley to carry out joint counter-terrorism operations.
The Army's Para (special forces), Navy's Marine Commandos (MARCOS) and Indian Air Force's Garud special forces are being deployed in the Kashmir Valley under the Defence Ministry's newly-raised Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD).
Induction of the joint special troops of the three forces has already started as the Army Para (SF) elements have already been inducted into an area considered to be a traditional terror hotbed near Srinagar, an Army official told news agency ANI.
As per reports, the elements of the MARCOS and the Garud would soon be getting fully inducted into the anti-terrorist operations.
Earlier, small teams of Navy's MARCOS and IAF's Garud used to operate in the Kashmir Valley, however, with this development, this will be the first time when the three services would be deployed jointly in the Valley.
While MARCOS commandos have been deployed in and around the Wular lake area, the Garud teams have been operating in the Lolab area and Hajin.
The Air Force special forces operated successfully in the Kashmir Valley and managed to eliminate six terrorists in a single operation named Operation Rakh Hajin for which its Corporal JP Nirala was awarded the Ashok Chakra posthumously.
The main reason behind this decision to deploy joint Special Forces in the Kashmir valley is to give them the exposure to operating jointly in real operations. The AFSPD has already carried out two exercises at different locations by practising assault on strategic enemy positions and taking back captured areas.
The first exercise of the AFSOD was in the Kutch region codenamed 'Ex Smelling Field' while the second was in Andaman and Nicobar Islands codenamed 'DANX-2019'.
Major General Ashok Dhingra has been appointed as the first head of the Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD).
Ever since its existence the division has performed well, however, it is facing issues involved in raising additional troops and lack of proper equipment.