|Armed Forces Special Operations Division|
|Active||28 September 2018 (established)|
November 2019 – present (operational)
|Role||Special Operations Forces|
|Part of||Integrated Defence Staff|
|Headquarters||Agra or Bengaluru (TBD)|
|Maj. Gen. A. K. Dhingra|
The Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD) is a tri-service command of the Indian Armed Forces. The division is tasked to carry out special operations. The AFSOD draws personnel from all three special warfare branches of the Armed Forces.
Indian Army Major General A. K. Dhingra, who is a war veteran from the Para SF, was appointed in May 2019 as the first head of the AFSOD. The division is expected to be converted into a full sized tri-service command in future.
The Naresh Chandra Task Force was set up in July 2011 by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon to review the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee, assess the implementation progress and further suggest new reforms related to national security. The task force was led by Naresh Chandra, retired Indian Administrative Service officer, and comprised 13 other members, including Gopalaswami Parthasarathy, Air Chief Marshal Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy (Retd), Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd), Lieutenant General V. R. Raghavan (Retd), Anil Kakodkar, K. C. Verma and V. K. Duggal. The committee conducted the first holistic review of national security since the Kargil Review Committee and submitted its classified report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 23 May 2012. Among its recommendations, the Task Force recommended the creation of a cyber command, an aerospace command and a special operations command. All three units were proposed to be tri-service commands in order to bring the various special forces units of the military under a unified command and control structure. The AFSOD is a downsized implementation of this proposal.
The division concluded its first exercise, code named 'Smelling Field', on 28 September 2019. The exercise was carried out in the district of Kutch in the state of Gujarat. The exercise was meant to help in ironing out, and subsequently addressing the challenges faced by the division.
The AFSOD will function under the Integrated Defence Staff. Units from all the three special forces of the Indian Armed Forces will be stationed in the division. The division is expected to be fully operational by November 2019.
The AFSOD is expected to serve as the main organisation responsible for carrying out special operations within and outside India. They are expected to carry out missions such as targeting high-value installations and degrading the war-fighting capabilities of hostile nations. The rationale behind the creation of this division is to pool the special abilities of each of the special forces units of the Armed Forces and enable them to operate together. The division will also help in reducing operational costs, since it will enable each of the special warfare units to utilise common equipment.