The Director General (DG) Security, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) in 1982 dispatched 500 SFF operatives along with over 500 Indian Army special forces to Sarasawa for Counter Terrorist training. It is also thought that the selected troopers thereafter were sent to Israel for highly specialized training. These men formed the nucleus of an ultra-elite and highly classified new detachment, known as the Special Group. It is a volunteer force and persons are inducted only after a very tough probation and selection process. Alone among the ‘Vikas regiments’ or SFF battalions, it is not made up of tibetans but exclusively recruits Indians volunteering from Indian Army units.
The SFF Special Group’s headquarters is supported by an Intelligence and Planning wing, a Training wing and a specialist Signals Troop which is solely responsible for support operations. Having four squadrons each made up of around 100 troopers, which are further divided into four troops. Each troop has a specialized role. The Special Group has a wide range of responsibilities, each requiring specific training and disciplines.
Special Group is also the parent unit of elite National Security Guards (NSG). The NSG was raised after SG participated in Operation Bluestar. It was thought that a paramilitary force not under the Ministry of Defence should be used for counter terrorism operations internally. The NSG is thus led by an IPS officer and comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs, even thought the commandos who lead operations are themselves from the army. After the formation of NSG, the Special Group is no longer involved in hostage rescue and counter terrorism.
Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols or Pathfinders must be able to remain hidden under the nose of the enemy for days or weeks on an end. The outfit was trained to do this against the Chinese but actually used the technique to great success in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the fields of the northern state of Punjab.
Combat Air Control
With the emphasis on air power in modern warfare there comes a need for skilled combat air controllers, men on the ground calling in air strikes. There is usually a trooper specially trained to guide in attack aircraft for a strike, verbally or using Laser Designators. SFF Special Group troopers effectively demonstrated this capability during India’s Kargil conflict with Pakistan in the summer of 1999.
The Special Group, along with the Special Protection Group (SPG) were the pioneers at close protection (CP) duties in India, having developed many of the protocols themselves, unique to the Indian subcontinent. Nowadays much of the VIP protection is the sole responsibility of the National Security Guards (NSG) and other specialized provincial units.
Training Foreign Military
Over the years, the Special Group has shared their expertise with a few friendly nations like Maldives and Nepal, training their own special forces. The government also gets political benefits from such arrangements.
[if !supportLists]1. [endif]^ www.chushigangdruk.org/history/history11.htm
[if !supportLists]2. [endif]^ The SFF became more famous within the administration as the "Establishment 22" because its first Inspector General (IG) Major Gen. Sujan Singh, a Military Cross holder and a legendary figure in the British India Army. Singh commanded the 22nd Mountain Regiment during World War II in Europe and a Long Range Desert Squadron (LRDS) in north Africa.
[if !supportLists]3. [endif]^ Bollywood Sargam – Special: Tibetan faujis in Bluestar
[if !supportLists]4. [endif]^ The Phantoms of Chittagong
[if !supportLists]5. [endif]^ India’s Tibetan Troops: Histories & Rare Photographs [Archive] – Military Photos
[if !supportLists]6. [endif]^ www.bharat-rakshak.com/ LAND-FORCES/Special-Forces/SFF.htm
[if !supportLists]7. [endif]^ WHAT
[if !supportLists]8. [endif]^ Spies in the Himalayas, by Kenneth Conboy and M.S. Kohli, University Press of Kansas (March 2003), ISBN 0-7006-1223-8
[if !supportLists]9. [endif]^ Harish Kapadia, "Nanda Devi", in World Mountaineering, Audrey Salkeld, editor, Bulfinch Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8212-2502-2, pp. 254-257.
[if !supportLists]10. [endif]^ There are many theories about what happened. Most of likely ones are that the device rolled off the mountain and is now lodged at the bottom of the glacier. More imaginative theories speculate that the supposedly indestructible nuclear power pack with a highly toxic plutonium isotope in its core, with a half-life of many thousand years is inching its way into the Ganges. Another plausible theory is that another team of Indian mountaineers came up furtively early the next season and spirited away the device for Indian nuclear scientists to study. Many Americans lean towards this, and with the legendary spymaster, RN Kao in the picture anything was possible.