The Rashtriya Rifles is a specialized Counter Insurgency Force that was raised in 1990 to fight the insurgency in the Kashmir Valley. The early 1990s was the time when the situation in Kashmir was deteriorating and the insurgency was seen to be at an all-time high. It was taking almost all of Kashmir under its control. The army was immediately called in to assist in counter-terrorism operations whose task until then was to only guard the LOC border.
The Indian Army had previous experiences of counter-insurgency operations but it did not take much time to realize that Kashmir was different from the rest in terms of the terrain and also the dense population of the valley. The army also did not want to move its regular forces to and fro from the borders to tackle the internal security. This was the time when the army saw the need to raise a specialized force to counter the insurgency problem of the valley which led to the creation of the Rashtriya Rifles.
The Rashtriya Rifles, which consists of more than 50,000 personnel, is the largest counter-insurgency force in the world. The force comprises 65 battalions at present consisting of regular army personnel. This is the only regiment where troops from different arms and services operate together to fight against terrorism. The deputation of the Jawans, JCOs, and officers are done for a period of 2-3 years after which they return to their respective units. Prior to joining the Rashtriya Rifles, each individual has to undergo a four-week long pre-induction training at Corps Battle School.
Let’s look at some of the reasons as to why the Rashtriya Rifles are so feared by the enemy and what makes them so deadly:
They have a good understanding of the terrain and operating there comes to them naturally.
The success of an operation depends on a lot of factors but the most important being to have a thorough knowledge of the battlefield. As they are permanently posted in the valley, they know the place much better. The troops are aware of all the infiltration routes, hideout places, and ambush sites. It gives them an upper hand and so while undergoing an operation, they can perform more efficiently.
They have an effective intelligence grid which can be relied upon.
The force has now spent a good amount of time in the valley. They have been successful in forming an intelligent grid that helps them plan and executes operations based on the inputs they receive. It mostly consists of locals and state police officials. The inputs help them to identify the militants and also give them information about the modus operandi of the terrorists. The operation based on such inputs brings an element of surprise which proves to be the game changer for the force.
Apart from this, the Rashtriya Rifles are equipped with advanced weapons and gadgets.
The RR troops are provided with most sophisticated equipment like communication devices, bulletproof jackets, patka helmets, etc. One thing that differentiates the Rashtriya Rifles with other security forces is that they are provided with the AK- 47 rifles to counter the enemy. It is the same rifle which most of the terrorist use and so the RR troops get a level playing field here and respond with equal force and cause maximum casualties. The mere thought of a Rashtriya Rifles soldier with the AK-47 in hand is enough to make the enemy tremble with fear.
It is also worth mentioning here that the Rashtriya Rifles has been doing a lot of social work in the region to bring changes in the lives of local people.
They have been providing them with free medical check-ups, giving them education opportunities and organizing career guidance seminars for the youth. Apart from this, various sports events are organized on a regular basis for the youths as well. They also hold monthly meetings with the locals where people from the communities participate and discuss and sort out their problems. All these efforts have really brought the RR very close to hearts of the people and helped them win their trust.
They have neutralized more than 7000 terrorists, captured more than 6000 different types of weapons, and made a countless number of people surrender and brought them back into the mainstream. The RR has got numerous awards and honors for their service to the nation which includes 6 Ashok Chakras, 34 Kirti Chakras, 221 Shaurya Chakras and 1508 Sena Medals. It is considered by many as one of the most successful forces of its kind in our country.
We cannot even imagine what would have been the situation in Kashmir, had the Rashtriya Rifles not been there. We owe them a lot for their selfless service to the nation. They are indeed the real heroes who make us all proud every single time.