India has initiated steps to create new tri-services Special Operations Division with the appointment of Major General A.K. Dhingra as its first commander, according to reports.
The new elite unit, named Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD), has been set up by the government to undertake joint special forces operations. It will have elements from the special operations forces (SOF) of three services – namely Indian Army’s Parachute Regiment – Para SF (Special Forces), the Navy’s Marine Commandos (MARCOS) and the Air Force’s Garud Commando Force.
The Division is expected to be the first choice of the government for undertaking any major counter-terrorism operation both within and outside the country. The new division will be formed under the tri-services Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and will get its headquarters at either Agra or Bangalore.
Maj. Gen. Dhingra is a Special Forces veteran and is from the Army’s elite 1 Para Special Forces Regiment. He was part of the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) operations in Sri Lanka.
The Indian government has given approval for the setting up of three new joint tri-service divisions – namely Space, Cyber and Special Operations. The final approval was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Combined Commanders’ Conference in Jodhpur last year.