“Braver among the bravest” won’t be an overstatement for the country’s SFF troopsdeployed on the tough terrains of India China border. The crucial responsibility for defending the integrity and sovereignty of India in crucial occasions has often been borne by the Himalayan Special Force. SFF or the Special Frontier Force has played a pivotal role in the country’s various battles, combats and anti-insurgency operations.
Lieutinant Colonel (Retd.), BM Thapa also noted in his recent editorial that the force has proved it’s galore time and again on various occasions including the Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple in 1984 and Operation Eagle during the 1971 war.
More recently, theSpecial Frontier Force was also majorly responsible for obstructing the plans of Chinese army at the PangongTso (or the Pangong Lake). Notably, Chinese troops had reportedly attempted another intrusion from the southern bank of Pangonglake on August 29, 2020. The India China latest news was soon flooded by reports on the Special Frontier Force being deployed to carry out the operation to thwart Chinese troops.
Why don’t many Indians know about the SFF?
Unlike the recent Indo-China combat, the Special Frontier Forcerarely makes news for the various anti-insurgency operations it undertakes. Notably, the SFF actually doesn’t come directly under the purviewof Indian Army. The Special Frontier Force (also known as the Vikas battalion), in fact comes under the Cabinet Secretariat which directly reports to the Indian Prime Minister.
It is often referred to as the most mysterious and secretive unit of the Indian Defense Forces. You might be surprised to know but often its movements and operations are not known to the army as well.
The SFF which was originally named as the Establishment 22 is now largely a mix of Tibetans and Gorkhas. Their training process has been described as even tougher to that of the Indian army. If we look at its history, the coveted Central Intelligence Agency of the United States has also been involved in training the Tibetan guerrillas of the SFF to fight the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese government before pulling off in the 1970s.