The Atlantic Council South Asia Center and the National Defense University Center for Strategic Research held a public discussion on September 11 with Lieutenant General Prakash C. Katoch on the role of India’s special forces in countering terrorism.

For more than a decade, worldwide attention has been focused upon American and western counterterrorism activities in South Asia, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although having been affected by terrorism in the region longer than its western allies, India’s counterterrorism policies and activities have been relatively less publicized. By 2014—if not before—the ongoing reduction in western combat forces across Afghanistan will alter the framework of counterterrorism on the subcontinent, bringing Indian policy interests and activity options into sharper relief. Indian Special Forces Lieutenant General (Ret.) Katoch will provide his insight into India’s strategic perspectives and prospective activities to counter violent terrorism in a region with declining international military presence. Given his unique background and experience, General Katoch addressed specifically the role of Indian military special operations in the context of broad Indian choices to counter violent terrorism today and beyond 2014.

A discussion with

Lt. Gen. Prakash C. Katoch (Ret.)
Special Forces
Indian Army

Introduced by

Dr. Thomas Lynch, III
Distinguished Research Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies
National Defense University

Moderated by

Mr. Shuja Nawaz
Director, South Asia Center
Atlantic Council

Lieutenant General Prakash C. Katoch

Lieutenant General Prakash C. Katoch was superannuated as director general of Information Systems of the Indian Army in 2009 after forty years service. He received several honors in his name including Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM), and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM). As a Special Forces officer, he participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan War, commanded an independent commando company in counter-insurgency, a special forces battalion under the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka, a brigade on Siachen Glacier during the Kargil Conflict, a division in Ladakh, and a strike corps in the South Western Theatre. He was a part of the Indian contingent to the tenth International Skydiving Competition at Tula (erstwhile USSR) in 1976. As a young officer, he was awarded Shaurya Chakra (equivalent of the Purple Heart) in counter-terrorist operations. LTG Katoch has served as defence attaché in Japan and the Republic of Korea, and held numerous operational staff appointments. He chaired an international seminar on leadership in Maldives (2009), and participated in the Fourth India-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trialogue at Kabul (2010).

Having completed a master of science in defence studies, LTG Katoch plays an important role as alumni of the Defence Services Staff College, Senior Command, Higher Command and National Defence College, and is currently a council member of United Services Institution of India. After retirement, he authored over 150 articles on military, security, technical, and topical issues. He has also presented over thirty papers in 2011 including: “Countering Violent Terrorism” at US Pacific Command, Hawaii; “Cyber Challenges to National Security” at the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, India; “Political & Economic Frameworks in Asia Pacific” during United Service Institution of India (USI) National Security Seminar; “Regional Security Post US/NATO Withdrawal from Afghanistan” during Japan-US-India Trialogue at USI; and on “Challenges in Maritime Security” at the China International Institute of Strategic Studies, Beijing. In May 2012, LTG Katoch also recently attended the Middle East Special Operations Commanders Conference at Amman, Jordan, and presented a paper on “Response to Complex Disasters” at the July 2012 Defense Forum on Regional Security at Taipei, ROC Taiwan. He is currently authoring two books: Special Forces, and Net Centricity and Indian Military.