After nearly a decade of debate, a great deal of indecision and at times near-paralysis in policymaking, India’s armed forces finally established the Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD) in May 2019. Given the fact that the Special Forces of the Indian Army have been at the forefront of actions to counter Pakistan’s proxy war along the Line of Control and elsewhere, the AFSOD is a welcome step in the direction of establishing a true joint-approach to special forces operations in India.
India’s armed forces have at their disposal a substantial special forces component. These units have served with considerable distinction since independence and are a formidable force. All three services have special forces elements but these require increased synergy to achieve their full potential. The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Cabinet Secretariat also have substantial special forces at their disposal. However, while these have military personnel on secondment, they warrant a separate study as they are full of potential for incorporation in perhaps a more comprehensive special operations concept which includes the use of forces interchangeably between the MHA, the MOD, and Cabinet Secretariat.
Armed Forces Special Operations Division
The Indian armed forces finally realized a long-desired goal of a triservice special operations division (the AFSOD) in May 2019. This division, which it is hoped will eventually emerge in