Explained: What is the Special Frontier Force or Vikas Battalion?

News: The Special Frontier Force(SFF) unit referred to as Vikas Battalion has been instrumental in occupying some key heights on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Ladakh to thwart any occupation by the Chinese troops.

Facts:

  • Special Frontier Force(SFF): It was raised in the immediate aftermath of the 1962 Sino-India war.It was a covert outfit which recruited Tibetans (now it has a mixture of Tibetans and Gorkhas) and initially went by the name of Establishment 22.
  • Nodal Ministry: STF falls under the purview of the Cabinet Secretariat where it is headed by an Inspector General who is an Army officer of the rank of Major General.The units that comprise the SFF are known as Vikas battalions.
  • Are SFF units part of the Army? Strictly speaking, the SFF units are not part of the Army but they function under operational control of the Army. The units have their own rank structures which have equivalent status with Army ranks.
  • Major Operations by SFF: There are several operations in which SFF units have taken part over the years. They took part in operations in the 1971 war, Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple Amritsar, Kargil conflict and in counter-insurgency operations in the country.
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