Foreign, Indian soldiers trained to combat urban terror at Mizoram

December 14th, 2008 - 1:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Dec 14 (IANS) The recent terror attacks in Mumbai and Assam have brought into focus the need to train Indian security forces to combat urban terrorism, officials said. Anti-terror experts at the Counter Insurgency & Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) at Vairengte in Mizoram have already taken the lead in imparting specialised training to army, paramilitary, and police personnel, in tackling urban terrorism.

“The training schedule involves a rigorous drill on how to tackle urban terrorism and low intensity conflict, besides simulated anti-insurgency operations,” a senior army official told IANS, on the condition of anonymity.

“We have been imparting training to deal with urban terrorism to both Indian and foreign soldiers even before the Mumbai attacks. Definitely the Mumbai terror attacks opened our eyes and hence we would be devising new tactics to train our soldiers.”

The school at Vairengte is considered as one of the world’s most prestigious anti-terrorist institutions with troops from several countries getting training in counter-insurgency techniques.

“The soldiers were being trained on sub-conventional guerrilla warfare, especially in dealing with urban terrorism,” the official said.

A group of 30 Mongolian and 70 Indian army soldiers last week completed 14-day training on unconventional warfare at Vairengte.

“The motto of the institute is to fight a guerrilla like a guerrilla,” the CIJWS commandant said.

“The training module is non-conventional and once a soldier undergoes training here, he can face all deadly situations anywhere in the world.” Thirty US soldiers had a three-week long training in low-intensity guerrilla warfare at the CIJWS in July.

“The US soldiers shared their experiences in tackling urban terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the Indians passed on their tactics used in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast,” the commandant said.

So far more than 156,000 soldiers have been trained at CIJWS, including about 1,500 foreign soldiers from 26 countries since the school was set up in 1970.

“The troops are taught to live in difficult and hostile terrain, eat and sleep like the guerrilla and strike as silently as the guerrilla does,” one of the instructors at the CIJWS said.

Spurred by the successes in combating militancy, New Delhi in 2001 opened the school at Vairengte for soldiers from abroad with three US army officers being the first overseas batch to be trained.

But it was only after 9/11 that the jungle warfare school at Vairengte began attracting military cadets from across the world.

In 2003, a group of about 100 elite US commandos completed a three-week anti-insurgency combat training at the institute.

The reputation of the CIJWS lies in the fact that the training module is framed in a highly scientific manner - soldiers receive training in identifying improvised explosive devices (IEDs), jungle survival, counter terrorism, and interrogation techniques.

Soldiers are also trained in jungle reflexive shooting, and a fast rope descending technique called ’slithering’, used by the Indian Army. The exercises are aimed at honing special skills for soldiers who are exposed to terrorist attacks.

The training module includes among other things lectures and seminars, besides mock operations in the rugged jungles in Mizoram.

“The CIJWS is also framing tactics to hunt down and face terrorist groups carrying weapons of mass destruction”, the official said.

There are plans to upgrade the school into a military college soon.

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