Indian Army
Indian security personnel stands guard in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.Reuters

India's defence and security establishment is planning to introduce distinct combat uniforms in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The step is seen as to avoid confusion among the security forces in the region, which more or less don same combat uniforms in J&K, the Print reported. One of the people close to the development said, "The common combat fatigues leads to confusion during operations and otherwise. We are looking at the pros and cons of having different combat uniforms."

Presently the collective responsibility of maintaining law and order along with counter-terror operations are borne by the Indian Army, CRPF and Jammu, and Kashmir Police. Usually, the three forces operate donning similar fatigues during operations which creates confusion among the ranks. The person privy to the development further added, "Each force has a specific role during operations. While the Army is involved in pure counter-terrorism operations, the CRPF in tasked with both helping in counter-terror operations by forming the second layer of defence when the Army operates, and of course the law and order duties including crowd control."

Indian Army
Indian Army soldiers in KashmirCredit: Reuters

Explaining the specific roles for the forces, one the sources added, "The Jammu and Kashmir Police has a mandate just like any other regular police force and their Special Operations Group takes part in operations with Army." In the past, the militants in the region have also used the same uniform to trick the citizens and security forces. In most of the attacks carried out by the terrorist camps on security installations, it has been found out that the terrorists used a similar combat uniform. Notably, in 2018 a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist almost managed to sneak into the security forces but alert security personnel identified the mole and shot him dead, averting a major attack.

Interestingly, this is not this is first-time such concerns have been discussed. In the past as well the Army has raised a similar issue. Common people in J&K identify the security forces with the word "fauj", which literally means the Army, hence creating confusion to differentiate between Army, CRPF and police. Further, this confusion becomes another security issue as Army personnel from the Rashtriya Rifles and the Special Forces also make a similar appearance to blend into the local crowd. The most striking case has been of stone-pelting where the Army has continuously being targeted to use pellet guns against even after CRPF using the same as it the force involving in law and order issues.