Expert: India should be cautious in rebuilding special forces in border areas with China

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In addition to the deployment of Mountain Strike Corps and BrahMos Supersonic CruiseMissiles along the China-India border, India is planning to rebuild its Special Frontier Forces (SFF)  to cope with China’s frequent actions, Indian media outlet Daily News andAnalysis (DNA) reported on Dec. 19. But experts have since pointed out that India shouldapproach this task with caution.

The SFF was established in 1963 after the border conflict with China in 1962. As the earsand eyes of India’s frontier forces, the troop has played a significant role in gatheringintelligence from border areas and neighboring countries. According to DNA, the decisionto rebuild the force was made by top Indian security leadership in an effort to cope withChina’s actions in countries surrounding India and along international boundaries. Thereport noted that China has proposed building a new railway and trade route betweenitself and Nepal. China has also enhanced its presence in Bangladesh and Myanmar — twonations that show great interest in attracting Chinese capital and infrastructure.

Mr. Ye Hailin

Ye Hailin, chief of the South Asia Studies Center under the Chinese Academy of SocialSciences, told the Global Times that the decision to rebuild the SFF is India’s internalaffairs, but the country should think carefully about whether this is a practical solution. China has no right to stop India’s efforts. Likewise, its cooperation and exchanges withBangladesh and Nepal need no consent from India, Ye added.

The Special Frontier Force (SFF) is a paramilitary special force of India created on 14 November 1962. Its main goal originally was to conduct covert operations behind Chinese lines in the event of another Sino-Indian War.

The SFF came to be known as ‘Establishment 22’ due to its first Inspector General, Major General Sujan Singh Uban (Retd.) of Indian Army, who used to be commander of 22

Mountain Regiment during World War II, 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.

Based in Chakrata, Uttarakhand, the force was put under the direct supervision of the Intelligence Bureau, and later, the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s external intelligence agency.

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