• Recently, the funeral of Nyima Tenzin, a soldier of the Special Frontier Force (SFF), was held in Leh, with BJP leader Ram Madhav among those present. While there have been reports about SFF being involved in the August 29-31 operation to occupy previously unoccupied heights in Chushul sector in eastern Ladakh, the Army has so far maintained an official silence.
• The SFF was raised by the Intelligence Bureau in the immediate aftermath of the 1962 China-India war.
• The covert outfit recruited Tibetan exiles (now it has a mixture of Tibetans and Gorkhas) and was initially named Establishment 22 (Major Gen Sujan Singh Uban, an Artillery officer who raised the group, named it after the 22 Mountain Regiment he commanded).
• Subsequently renamed SSF, it now falls under the purview of the Cabinet Secretariat.
• It is commonly believed that the SFF was raised by India in coordination with US intelligence agencies.
• On the ground, it is headed by an Inspector General who is an Army officer of the rank of Major General. The units comprising the SFF are known as Vikas battalions.
• Strictly speaking, the SFF units are not part of the Army but function under its operational control. SSF units have their own rank structures, of equivalent status with Army ranks. However, they are special forces personnel highly trained for a variety of tasks.
• The SSF training centre is in Chakrata, 100 km outside Dehradun.
Mains Paper 3: Defense and Security
Prelims level: Special Frontier Force
Mains level: Details about the Special Frontier Force and their mandate