Army Unit Ready With Dossiers to Guard Government, Private Setups
By Anantha Krishnan M | ENS | Published: 28th January 2014 07:27 AM |
EXCLUSIVE SERIES ON SPECIAL FORCES - PART III
The Special Forces (SF) unit of the Indian Army based in Bangalore has quietly mapped all big government and private establishments in South India to act quickly and effectively in case of a terror strike.
“We are ready to take off at very short notice and can be deployed in any part of South India,” its Commanding Officer, who did not wish to be identified, said.
Operating from a 180-acre erstwhile military farm, the unit is in regular touch with the Internal Security Division (ISD), Karnataka’s counter-terrorist police unit.
The Special Forces unit was established in Bangalore five years ago in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which claimed 164 lives.
Over these five years, the unit has prepared dossiers with detailed layouts of every major government, private and commercial establishment in the four southern states. These are stored in the form of satellite images, photos and maps at the unit. A few years ago, the SF team had done a mock drill on the 13th floor of Bangalore’s ITPL after entering the building through the 16th floor. It executed another mock drill at a Wipro unit.
In 2011, the unit collaborated with NSG Commandos and conducted security training at a Taj hotel. In 2011, the unit went on a UN mission to South Sudan.
“Our boys have done recce missions at almost all places in Bangalore which are VAVPs,” said the CO. In army terminology, VAVP stands for Vital Area, Vital Point.
The unit has trained with the ISD and the two are geared to work together on specific inputs. “Mysore is also on our radar,” he said.
Force-1, the elite special commando force of Maharashtra designed on the lines of NSG, was trained by the SF unit, while Karnataka’s ISD had sought its help.
An Army aviation unit using advanced light helicopter Dhruv makes regular visits to the unit.
The Indian Air Force station in Yelahanka is the nearest air strip available for the SF to launch major missions.
‘Man Behind the Machine Counts’
“Our main aim is to make the weapon and the man one identity. He needs to walk, run, sleep and jump with his equipment. It should be a part of his life. Finally, it is the man behind the machine that counts,” he said. SF operatives have many weapons of foreign origin which can be used for a variety of operations, ranging from a surgical strike to annihilation of a target as big as a football field.
Following the Mumbai attacks in 2008, the Central government created NSG hubs in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkota and Mumbai, while Bangalore got the SF unit.
Bangalore’s increasing traffic has been the unit’s biggest enemy, and it seeks special clearances every time it carries out a routine exercise.