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Current Affairs

Vikas Battalion

Date: 02 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A Special Frontier Force (SFF) unit, referred to as Vikas Battalion, has been instrumental in occupying some key heights on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Ladakh.

 

Details

  • SFF was raised in the immediate aftermath of the 1962 Sino-India war. It was a covert outfit which recruited Tibetans (now it has a mixture of Tibetans and Gorkhas) and initially went by the name of Establishment 22.

  • It was named so because it was raised by Major General Sujan Singh Uban, an Artillery officer who had commanded 22 Mountain Regiment.

  • Subsequently, the group was renamed as Special Frontier Force and it now falls under the purview of the Cabinet Secretariat where it is headed by an Inspector General who is an Army officer of the rank of Major General. The units that comprise the SFF are known as Vikas battalions.

  • The SFF units are not part of the Army but they function under operational control of the Army. The units have their own rank structures which have equivalent status with Army ranks.

  • They are highly trained Special Forces personnel who can undertake a variety of tasks which would normally be performed by any Special Forces unit.

  • The SFF units function virtually as any other Army unit in operational areas despite having a separate charter and history.

  • They have their own training establishment where the recruits to SFF are imparted special forces training. Incidentally, women soldiers too form a part of SFF units and perform specialised tasks.

  • There are several overt and covert operations in which SFF units have taken part over the years. They took part in operations in the 1971 war, Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple Amritsar, Kargil conflict and in counter-insurgency operations in the country.

  • In 1971, the SFF operated in the Chittagong hill tracts in East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) to neutralise Pakistan Army positions and help the Indian Army advance ahead. The operation was code-named ‘Operation Eagle’.

  • They were airlifted into operational areas and infiltrated behind enemy lines to destroy lines of communication of Pakistan Army. They also played a vital role in preventing the escape of Pakistan Army personnel from Bangladesh into Burma (now Myanmar).