Analysis Inside the Special Forces’ identity crisis

GuardianRED

Call Sign "RED"
Dec 2, 2017
564
486
Was Army SF available? Yes
Did it take more time than usual ops to eliminate 4-5 infiltrators? Yes
Was NSG trained for such mission (Its a big area) ? No
I think we can all agree that SF is misused

1) Isn't majority of NSG personnel from infantry ? so training as infantry forgotten? . Still agree SF isn't to be used for securing large areas!

2) As @Abingdonboy, @Parthu and @Ashwin mentioned - A Special forces command for Tri service - could solve alot of issues. My Q here is - will/can this command make a decision (and stick to it) on having the nearest units -take charge of the situation OR will they be overridden by the HM aka Babus in charge? ... case and point the Pathankon attack

3) Saying that IAF Garuds has failed is the biggest BS comments i have read - The Garuds are there first to secure the assets and NO - Entering the quarters isn't the same as entering the Actual Base

4) The NSG seriously needs its own air assets! both fixed and rotor!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ashwin and Parthu

bonobashi

Well-Known member
Dec 3, 2017
900
416
Sir ; ZA Khan died a Long time back

He gave an interview to Maj A H AMIN which was first published in Pak Defence Journal

But those rascals deleted it ; It is still available as WEB CACHE
and a few other sites have also put it

There is no TV interview of ZA Khan

The difference is that I read the book. If you are referring to the Defence Journal interview, I have read that too.
 

STEPHEN COHEN

Senior member
Dec 4, 2017
7,547
4,637
The difference is that I read the book. If you are referring to the Defence Journal interview, I have read that too.

The Interview is quite detailed ; it covers every thing including the point you raised
in PDF about Pak help to Mizos in 1966

But he is quite clearly dis owning all blame for their defeats in 1965 and 1971
including Longewala onto other people

If that interview is any indication ; the book must be a litany of complaints and blames

He never talks about his own shortcomings
 

bonobashi

Well-Known member
Dec 3, 2017
900
416
The Interview is quite detailed ; it covers every thing including the point you raised
in PDF about Pak help to Mizos in 1966

But he is quite clearly dis owning all blame for their defeats in 1965 and 1971
including Longewala onto other people

If that interview is any indication ; the book must be a litany of complaints and blames

He never talks about his own shortcomings

LOL. He was somewhere at the tail end in Longewala, dealing with broken down tanks. How did you come to the conclusion that a Colonel, as he then was, was in some way responsible for the mishandling of the Brigade and the Division in contact with our troops?

As for his shortcomings, it would have been a waste of time for him to discuss them. After all, we have you to find out what every officer, every soldier lacked.
 

STEPHEN COHEN

Senior member
Dec 4, 2017
7,547
4,637
LOL. He was somewhere at the tail end in Longewala, dealing with broken down tanks. How did you come to the conclusion that a Colonel, as he then was, was in some way responsible for the mishandling of the Brigade and the Division in contact with our troops?

As for his shortcomings, it would have been a waste of time for him to discuss them. After all, we have you to find out what every officer, every soldier lacked.

You might be in AWE of this late Brigadier ; But I really did not like him

He is like an older and earlier version of Zaid Hamid
He had a very condescending attitude towards everybody

That is what really matters for us Indians

The Martial race theory has really damaged the Pakistani DNA and Psyche
 

bonobashi

Well-Known member
Dec 3, 2017
900
416
You might be in AWE of this late Brigadier ; But I really did not like him

He is like an older and earlier version of Zaid Hamid
He had a very condescending attitude towards everybody

That is what really matters for us Indians

The Martial race theory has really damaged the Pakistani DNA and Psyche

It's entirely your problem what you think of sources; my objective is to quote facts, and not make fatuous statements such as,"...The Martial race theory has really damaged the Pakistani DNA and Psyche." The difference is what matters.
 

bonobashi

Well-Known member
Dec 3, 2017
900
416
One IB Field guy in Punjab was thankfully alert

He realised that the car jacking was done by terrorists

He contacted Doval immediately who dispatched NSG

Doval realised that Pathankot airbase is the target
Or else we would have been F***ed up that day

Whatever Doval realised, it is not clear if you have realised that ignoring Army assets nearby and available, and using the NSG, a step that was widely criticised then and later, is what is precisely under discussion.
 

STEPHEN COHEN

Senior member
Dec 4, 2017
7,547
4,637
What's his id on pdf?

You should ask him FIRST @bonobashi

He is elderly person ; I respect him though Often disagree with him

If he refuses to tell you ; I will tell you tomorrow

P.S : The Funny thing is when I greeted him HERE with his PDF ID
He simply denied it and said that he is somebody else

But as they say
A leopard cannot hide his spots

Whatever Doval realised, it is not clear if you have realised that ignoring Army assets nearby and available, and using the NSG, a step that was widely criticised then and later, is what is precisely under discussion.

Doval cannot command the Army unit ; He did what he could

The Army unit takes orders from the Defence Ministry

Since it was an intelligence input Doval had to act quickly

There was NO time for an Inter agency "Circle Jerk "

P.S If Doval was appointed under UPA ; you would be kissing his ***

You hate him because he works for MODI

The difference is what matters.

There is No difference between Successive Generations of Pakistanis

They are only getting More radical with Time except a Handful of them with whom you
are quite chummy on PDF

The others especially the youngsters over there treat you like Dirt
 

bonobashi

Well-Known member
Dec 3, 2017
900
416
We don't know what was the thought process behind that decision.

Not to mention, most of the criticism is coming from the army, not the air force. So it could be politically motivated.

What is the logic behind that? The Air Force was attacked at its base, and was found wanting. What criticism do you expect? The Army had elements that it felt would have been better deployed, given their proximity and their training, than the NSG. Who other than they should have criticised?
 

bonobashi

Well-Known member
Dec 3, 2017
900
416
You should ask him FIRST @bonobashi

He is elderly person ; I respect him though Often disagree with him

If he refuses to tell you ; I will tell you tomorrow

P.S : The Funny thing is when I greeted him HERE with his PDF ID
He simply denied it and said that he is somebody else

But as they say
A leopard cannot hide his spots

I make it a habit not to reply to anyone saying anything irrelevant. You should go back and check your mail; there was no exchange, just a claim by you.

Doval cannot command the Army unit ; He did what he could

The Army unit takes orders from the Defence Ministry

Since it was an intelligence input Doval had to act quickly

There was NO time for an Inter agency "Circle Jerk "

P.S If Doval was appointed under UPA ; you would be kissing his ***

You hate him because he works for MODI

Why would I hate a poor policeman doing a job well beyond his capacity? Why should he have intervened in a matter of which he had zero prior experience? Why should everyone not have left the special forces to do what they were trained to do?

You make no sense. And I have never been a UPA admirer.

There is No difference between Successive Generations of Pakistanis

They are only getting More radical with Time except a Handful of them with whom you
are quite chummy on PDF

The others especially the youngsters over there treat you like Dirt

Yes, I have noticed that you get enormous respect from the younger Pakistanis, if it is you on PDF. As for the rest, it is not clear what you are referring to.
 

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
19,309
14,039
India
What is the logic behind that? The Air Force was attacked at its base, and was found wanting. What criticism do you expect? The Army had elements that it felt would have been better deployed, given their proximity and their training, than the NSG. Who other than they should have criticised?

We don't know everything that went down there. The army could simply be salty for being left out, nothing else.

Their proximity and training is of no use if hostages are taken. Saving that officer's or airman's wife and children is far more important than losing a few soldiers as far as ethics goes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RATHORE

bonobashi

Well-Known member
Dec 3, 2017
900
416
We don't know everything that went down there. The army could simply be salty for being left out, nothing else.

Their proximity and training is of no use if hostages are taken. Saving that officer's or airman's wife and children is far more important than losing a few soldiers as far as ethics goes.

Certainly, you are right in saying that saving lives was important. But how is it that a centralised team of the NSG was present at the airbase when it was attacked and couldn't defend it? If it was flown down from Delhi, what prevented the deployment of the much closer, more trained for the purpose special forces? Finally, having been on site, why did the NSG not take even preliminary steps to protect the women and children?
 

STEPHEN COHEN

Senior member
Dec 4, 2017
7,547
4,637
@bonobashi

Before Pathankot ; did we have a SOP for such situations

Suppose the IB guy who first realised what was happening had Asked the Army authorities
to send in thousands of troops ; would they have helped

Even IAF base commander was alerted from Delhi

Suppose IAF base commander would have asked His nearby Army counterpart for help
would they have rushed through

And what did Punjab police do exactly after their SP was attacked

Pathankot damage was contained in the nick of time

Only after NSG arrived did the Two Services get their act together

At least now we have the SOP for such situations

NSA made the Best out of a really bad situation

Army Bases too have been hit in Kashmir ; several times

And then Para SF come to their rescue ; The nearest Para unit was in Udhampur

And please dont get Jealous of Doval ; His achievements and capabilities are well known

He is involved with every aspect of national Security whether you like it or NOT
does not matter

Why dont you list your achievements if you feel Doval is just a Poor policeman
 

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
19,309
14,039
India
Certainly, you are right in saying that saving lives was important. But how is it that a centralised team of the NSG was present at the airbase when it was attacked and couldn't defend it? If it was flown down from Delhi, what prevented the deployment of the much closer, more trained for the purpose special forces?

Again, I'm just speculating here. If they had mobilized large chunks of the army beforehand, the terrorists wouldn't have attacked. So they probably decided to use much smaller numbers of the army and other specialist units to throw the terrorists off guard. That's better than getting them to not attack and letting them walk around freely and plan other attacks.

What the NSG failed to anticipate was the terrorists's point of entry. Once the perimeter was breached, we did lose some men in the mess halls, but then the terrorists failed to do anything else. Most other casualties were from battle. So I don't think the criticism on the NSG is warranted.

So the choice was between baiting them in with fewer numbers or simply move in a couple thousand troops and drive them away only for them to attack again on a different day.

The army was involved from the beginning.
Pathankot attack: A terror strike, some hard truths
By the evening of January 1, two army columns and two teams of special forces under Brigadier A.S. Bevli were in location at the air base, primarily tasked with protecting the technical area and vital assets. At 10 pm, 130 personnel of the NSG landed at the base. Another 80 personnel arrived at 2.30 am on January 2.

Finally, having been on site, why did the NSG not take even preliminary steps to protect the women and children?

From what I saw in the news, some of the terrorists did try to gain entry into the cantonment but were thwarted.
 

bonobashi

Well-Known member
Dec 3, 2017
900
416
Again, I'm just speculating here. If they had mobilized large chunks of the army beforehand, the terrorists wouldn't have attacked. So they probably decided to use much smaller numbers of the army and other specialist units to throw the terrorists off guard. That's better than getting them to not attack and letting them walk around freely and plan other attacks.

First, the civilians should have got out of the way. There was no need for Doval to get brownie points by taking unilateral action (deciding which team to deploy and picking the NSG); there was no need for him to be there at all. Can you imagine Kissinger for instance, sitting in a Vietnamese base waiting for a raid into Cambodia to be completed? There is some deep insecurity in the man that drives him to take prominent positions (out of harm's way) whenever there is a photo opportunity.

Second, there is no reason to believe that the Army would have mobilised large numbers; nobody said so, nobody did so. This was not the Republic Day parade, after all. Pushing masses of people into a situation and hoping that numbers will overwhelm the hostiles is a typically civilian manoeuvre, one that a policeman used to bundobust duty would automatically take. On the other hand, it was the Army, when left to do it right by its own seniors and by New Delhi, that got it right in Black Thunder; a look at the numbers there will be instructive.

Third, you are completely right in suggesting that keeping a low profile and enticing the hostiles to make their move was the correct thing to do. But that did not preclude precautionary measures: guarding the military assets, cautioning the family members and throwing a discreet ring around them (not necessarily of uniformed personnel), giving the hostiles clearly demarcated room to manoeuvre by placing defensive pickets in locations that automatically encourage the hostiles to go where they are wanted to go.

What the NSG failed to anticipate was the terrorists's point of entry. Once the perimeter was breached, we did lose some men in the mess halls, but then the terrorists failed to do anything else. Most other casualties were from battle. So I don't think the criticism on the NSG is warranted.

You are right here. The worrying thing about the point of entry is that it should never have been achievable to enter in the first place. That is not an NSG or an SF problem; that is purely a base administration problem. While there is no harm in letting re-employed reservists take up watch-and-ward duties, there needed to have been periodic inspections of intrusion-reporting electronic equipment and of the vulnerability of the perimeter defences. There was also need for the Garudas to be involved as a reaction team located on the airbase itself at all times. What else should an air force special force be doing? That the hostiles got through tells its own tale.

By the time the battle broke out, it was too late for anything but sharpening the pencils for the post-mortem.

Again I repeat: the NSG were not trained for this kind of role, and they were out of place. The overwhelming impression is that they were involved solely because they were under the direct control of the civilian authorities.

So the choice was between baiting them in with fewer numbers or simply move in a couple thousand troops and drive them away only for them to attack again on a different day.

There were very many variations possible. Not even one was tried.

The army was involved from the beginning.
Pathankot attack: A terror strike, some hard truths
By the evening of January 1, two army columns and two teams of special forces under Brigadier A.S. Bevli were in location at the air base, primarily tasked with protecting the technical area and vital assets. At 10 pm, 130 personnel of the NSG landed at the base. Another 80 personnel arrived at 2.30 am on January 2.
I thought you were the one who pointed out that large numbers would have been counter-productive.

From what I saw in the news, some of the terrorists did try to gain entry into the cantonment but were thwarted.

That was good work by the defensive cordon.

There is a lot more to be said about the whole thing; perhaps later. I am both tired and caught up in work.
 

STEPHEN COHEN

Senior member
Dec 4, 2017
7,547
4,637
First, the civilians should have got out of the way. There was no need for Doval to get brownie points by taking unilateral action (deciding which team to deploy and picking the NSG); there was no need for him to be there at all. Can you imagine Kissinger for instance, sitting in a Vietnamese base waiting for a raid into Cambodia to be completed? There is some deep insecurity in the man that drives him to take prominent positions (out of harm's way) whenever there is a photo opportunity.

Second, there is no reason to believe that the Army would have mobilised large numbers; nobody said so, nobody did so. This was not the Republic Day parade, after all. Pushing masses of people into a situation and hoping that numbers will overwhelm the hostiles is a typically civilian manoeuvre, one that a policeman used to bundobust duty would automatically take. On the other hand, it was the Army, when left to do it right by its own seniors and by New Delhi, that got it right in Black Thunder; a look at the numbers there will be instructive.

Third, you are completely right in suggesting that keeping a low profile and enticing the hostiles to make their move was the correct thing to do. But that did not preclude precautionary measures: guarding the military assets, cautioning the family members and throwing a discreet ring around them (not necessarily of uniformed personnel), giving the hostiles clearly demarcated room to manoeuvre by placing defensive pickets in locations that automatically encourage the hostiles to go where they are wanted to go.



You are right here. The worrying thing about the point of entry is that it should never have been achievable to enter in the first place. That is not an NSG or an SF problem; that is purely a base administration problem. While there is no harm in letting re-employed reservists take up watch-and-ward duties, there needed to have been periodic inspections of intrusion-reporting electronic equipment and of the vulnerability of the perimeter defences. There was also need for the Garudas to be involved as a reaction team located on the airbase itself at all times. What else should an air force special force be doing? That the hostiles got through tells its own tale.

By the time the battle broke out, it was too late for anything but sharpening the pencils for the post-mortem.

Again I repeat: the NSG were not trained for this kind of role, and they were out of place. The overwhelming impression is that they were involved solely because they were under the direct control of the civilian authorities.



There were very many variations possible. Not even one was tried.

If Pathankot had happened during UPA we would have lost all planes

The previous NSA ; PM ; DM all were bloody Bufoons

Above all they had destroyed the IB by setting loose CBI on it

IB was saved by its leadership and then revived by DOVAL

It was IB which provided the initial lead as to what is going on

The clock was ticking

DOVAL did all the Heavy lifting ; he should get the credit for SAVING the planes

The absence of an SOP was not his fault ; He had FULL Operational Authority

When you are in a Dangerous Free fall Situation ; Somebody has to take the INITIATIVE
which he did ; to Mitigate the Situation

Army was also requistioned by Doval for building the numbers for Perimeter security
and also placed near the Installations simply because the base was too Huge

NSG was supplementing the Army and it is as good as Paras in such situations

What if the paras were suddenly required in kashmir at the same time

Your PDF buddies were Jumping in Joy when the news came in the morning
But later when they realised that we did nt loose a single plane ; it was a heart attack for them