The Indian Army is putting its men through new-age tactical strategies to take on the growing challenges of terrorism in urban areas. At the Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre (MLIRC) here, the recruits are given training in a series of counter-terrorism operations, some of which were demonstrated to Express on Thursday.
Interacting to this correspondent during a live demonstration of slithering and room intervention operation, Brigadier Santosh Kurup, Commandant, MLIRC, said that the focus of intense training imparted on the recruits hovers around the concept of ‘buddy pair’.
“We need to adopt new methods while flushing out terrorists. In the rural setting, it becomes inherent for a large column of troops to cordon off the suspect area. But in an urban scenario, it is often found that the terrorists are holed up in small groups and at different locations. We can’t cordon off the entire area in this case,” Brigadier Santosh said. The MLIRC trains recruits in “small team operations”, teaching them tactical movements needed to zero-in on specific locations. “It’s a huge challenge to undertake counter-terrorism operations in heavily populated areas. The main ingredients for a successful operation are surprise, swiftness and professionalism. The troops have to undergo intense training to attain a certain level of confidence to undertake such missions. The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in operations” he said.
At the centre, the recruits are trained in slithering operations from a Mi-17 chopper model, which is fixed on the top of a gigantic concrete structure, at 30-40 feet height.
Armed recruits are made to slither from the ‘chopper’ and take positions within seconds after they touch-down. “We teach them slithering techniques and room intervention tactics. During room intervention operations, the buddy pair concept is strictly followed. When a solider is in action, he is always covered by his buddy. All training today revolves around the buddy system,” the Commandant said.
At MLIRC, the recruits are exposed to various modern counter-terrorism training tools. Be it the simulators, gen-next firing ranges, paint-ball guns, laser-beam techniques and exhaustive training modules, the recruit is put through a rigorous regimen. The aim is to adapt in keeping with changing times and technology, the Brigadier added.