Establishment 22

Near the end of the Sino-Indian war and towards the end of 1962, the Nehru administration ordered the raising of an elite guerrilla force composed of Tibetan refugees. Chushi Gangdruk leaders were contacted for recruitment of Khampas into this new unit. The leaders were delighted to hear of this new development and promptly agreed to it, for it was seen by them then as a means of maintaining Tibetan volunteers more formally and, moreover, a well-trained force might be of great use to Tibet in the future. A formation agreement was signed in 1962. The parties to this formation agreement were the Indian Intelligence Service (RAW), the CIA (for weaponry till 1972) and Chushi Gangdruk. Ironically, General Gonpo Tashi and Jago Namgyal Dorjee, two of the three top leaders charged and confined to Delhi in previous years for recruiting guerrillas for the Mustang base, were now to sign this three-party joint formation agreement on behalf of Chushi Gangdruk. Our organization took main responsibility for recruiting, and an initial strength of 12,000 men, mostly Khampas, were recruited at Chakrat, Dehra-dun, UP. Chushi Gangdruk sent two of the commanders to this new outfit to be political leaders in the initial stage. Established under the direct supervision of the prime minister, the unit was named the Special Frontier Force. Its forces were trained and commanded by the Indian Army and the unit was meant to be air-dropped into Tibet in the event of another war in the Tibetan frontiers. The SFF became known by the code name "Establishment 22" because of its inspector general, who during World War II commanded the 22nd Mountain Regiment. Our resistance organization's insignia of crossed swords is visible on the formation insignia of SFF or Establishment 22.

The SFF never had a chance of being used in operations against its intended enemy, Red China, but it was used against East Pakistan with the consent of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1971. About one-third of its full strength was developed adjacent to the Chittagong Hill Tracts as Mukti Bahini. They captured many towns and garrisons in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in continuous fighting of about one month. When East Pakistan was liberated and the cease-fire was declared on December 17, 1971, casualties suffered by the SFF were 190 wounded and 56 killed, including political leader Gyato Dhondup, one of the two commanders sent by Chushi Gangdrug, who was shot by snipers. The Indian government gave awards to 580 members of the force for their active involvement and bravery in the battles. The contribution made by Establishment 22 in liberating East Pakistan was great and the price paid by the force was also high, but it would have been of great value had it been used against communist China, the intended enemy.

 

__________________________________________________


Back Table of Contents Next

__________________________________________________