A plan is afoot to integrate commandoes of the army, navy, air force and the National Security Guard (NSG) under a single command.
“The planning has been going on for the last three and a half years or so. It will result in a single commando force for special and incisive operations. As many as 15,000 well-trained men with sophisticated weapons, who are supported by sound logistics, will come under a single command,” said an official familiar with the developments.
The plan has received a fillip after being recommended by the Naresh Chandra Committee, a 14-member task force on national security, which submitted its report to the government in August.
“A combined force for operating in absolutely covert conditions is long overdue. Most countries, except India, have such forces,” said retired Lt Gen PC Katoch, who commanded special forces in Sri Lanka.
Understandably, this force will operate both within India and abroad.
At present, the Indian Army has about five battalions of para commandoes with another three in the pipeline, the navy has two marine commando battalions— popularly known as Marcos — while the air force has the Garuds numbering about 1,500 commandoes. The elite NSG has five battalions for special operations, excluding substantial numbers of fighters who take care of VIP security.
The commandoes to be commanded by a Lt General of the army will have capabilities and skills to battle it out on land, air and sea and will have the facilities to reach anywhere within the shortest possible time.
Incidentally, last Friday, PM Manmohan Singh had indicated his intent when he called for synergy among the armed forces for ‘comprehensive responses’.
“We should aim to abandon single service or segmented approaches and develop synergies across services. Compartmentalised views will only delay our response,” the PM had said addressing top commanders.