Army proposes special units to fight urban terrorism
Setting up of specialised Army units to deal with urban terrorism has been proposed after an assessment of the lessons learned during the operations against terrorists who struck in Mumbai on November 26.
An official assessment of the operations carried out by the Army's Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa area headquarters candidly admits that its basic training and equipment does not give it the ability for anti-terrorist operations.
Therefore, specialised units should be set up for the purpose. Such units should be capable of being deployed in any part of the country in short notice, the assessment report said.
"Basic training and equipment does not equip the Army for anti-terrorist operations. Specialised units to deal with urban terrorists and capable of being deployed anywhere in India at short notice needs to be considered," the excerpts from the report, accessed by PTI, recommended.
Maharashtra Chief Secretary had, within an hour-and-half of the terror attacks in Mumbai on November 26 last year, called up the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Army requesting assistance in the operations.
The Army had deployed 13 columns comprising 21 officers, 43 junior commissioned officers and 729 jawans (nearly a battalion strength) from Mumbai, Pune and Nasik units and Bomb Disposal Squads in the three-day operation.
Among the lessons learned from the Mumbai anti-terror operations was the urgent need to equip all infantry battalions located in Metros and important cities with specialised weapons and equipment, the Army report said.
"It was necessary to ensure that trained and equipped capability is available at short notice. Infantry battalions located in important cities need to be equipped with special equipment like stun guns, grenades, close quarter battle weapons, hands-free communication equipment and bullet-proof jackets," it added.
On the operations carried out at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Leopold Cafe, Hotel Taj, Hotel Trident Oberoi and Nariman House, the Army said, it had on viewing television coverage of the terror attacks, anticipated its deployment and initiated action for possible aid by keeping five columns of troops on stand by.
Army columns from 2 Grenadiers and 131 Air Defence Regiment were deployed at various locations in a short span of time, as they were in station, the report, circulated to all its formations for percolating information, said.
Additional troops from Pune and Nasik were mobilised to augment the resources in Mumbai. All units moved self-contained in terms of operations and administrative requirements.