Tri-services special forces division fielded for first time in large scale exercise

DANX-19 staged to validate plans to defend the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

October 19, 2019 By Vishal Thapar Photo(s): By Indian Navy
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been used to validate joint service doctrines and concepts of operations

Special forces from the newly-raised tri-service Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD) were fielded for the first time in a large scale military exercise to validate plans for defending the territorial integrity of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The Defence of Andaman and Nicobar Islands 2019 (DANX-19) was conducted by the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) from October 14 to 18. "Components of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard carried out mobilisation and field manoeuvres to validate defensive plans of Headquarters ANC towards pursuance of the Commandís responsibility, namely ensuring territorial integrity of the A&N Islands," according to a statement issued by the Indian Navy spokesperson.

The Special Operations Division represents the latest headway in increasing military jointness. Tri-services cyber and space divisions have also been set up along with AFSOD

"In addition to internal forces from ANC, accretional forces from Mainland comprising ships and aircraft, Special Forces from the newly formed Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD), also participated in this edition," the statement added.

This was the second edition of the Defence of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Exercise.

The strategically located Andaman and Nicobar Islands overlook the world's busiest shipping sea lanes, and is also a staging base for showing military presence in South-East Asia, including in the contested South China Sea. The military element is now an important factor in India's Act East Policy. India is stepping up military cooperation with South-East Asian countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The ANC is India's first tri-service command, which was set up after the Kargil War as part of initiatives to introduce jointness among the armed forces. The Special Operations Division represents the latest headway in increasing military jointness. Tri-services cyber and space divisions have also been set up along with AFSOD.