Tri-service Command in the Domain of
Special Operations, Cyberspace and Space
| 16 May 2019

The three tri-service agencies to handle the critical domain of special operations, cyberspace and space are taking shape with the appointment of two-star officers to head them.

Special Operation Force

India’s elite unit of commandos drawn from all three armed forces has started functioning with the Ministry of Defence. Ministry of defence appointed a Major General from the Army as its first commander. He will be in the rank of General Officer Commanding (GOC), a rank used in field formations

Why it is Done?

  • India has very competent and capable Special Forces (SF) which have proved their mettle in various operations.
  • However, Naresh Chandra Committee on Defence Reforms in India pointed out on the hollowness of the national security decision making process and the urgent need for change this. It had recommended setting up three commands — Special Operations, Cyber and Space — to deal with new challenges facing national security.
  • In view of this, multiple steps have been taken for inducing integration in different services. But what should be noted is jointness is different from integration. Jointness is generally associated with Theatre command.
Difference between Jointness and Integration
MEANING While the three Services progress and develop in their respective spheres, maintaining their independent identity, they function together and so coordinate their operations in war as to achieve the best results. It implies enmeshing the three Services together at different levels and placing them under one commander for execution of operational plans.
AIM Synergised use of the resources of the three Services in a seamless manner to achieve the best results in the least possible time, thus, avoiding duplication and making optimum use of the available resources. Cutting down the response time to developing situations during operations under a single commander.


Employment of a resource is a subject of debate and discussion at a crucial time.


Employment is immediate, based on the commander’s appreciation of the operational situation.

CONSENT Consent from parent Service for allocation of a resource is mandatory. Resources from all three Services already stand allocated to the appropriate commander.
FRICTION Possibility of inter-Service friction is much greater since differences in employment are bound to keep cropping up continuously. As initial resistance to give up one’s turf having been taken care of during the re-organizational process, operations by the integrated force are likely to be more focussed and timely.

What it will Bring?

  • It is named as Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD), it will have Special Forces of the Army, Marine Commandos (MARCOS) of the Navy, and Garuda commando force of the IAF.
  • The three forces have operated together but this will be the first effort to bring them under a common command and control structure, an important step in the integration of the three forces. It will also reduce costs of training besides logistics and administrative costs.
  • Along with Defence Cyber Agency (DCA) and Defence Space Agency, AFSOD will be vital in dealing with emergent challenges in National security.

The Andaman and Nicobar Command is the first and only Tri-service theatre command of the Indian Armed Forces, based at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was created in 2001, on the recommendation of Kargil review committee, to safeguard India's strategic interests in Southeast Asia and the Strait of Malacca by increasing rapid deployment of military assets in the region. It provides logistical and administrative support to naval ships which are sent on deployment to East Asia and the Pacific Ocean.