‘There is the need for one Task Force Commander to coordinate with ITBP, NDRF and other agencies, preferably under the Army’
Lt General Anil Chait took over as the new Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) on July 1, 2013. In an interview with Lt General (Retd) V.K. Kapoor, Editor, SP’s LandForces, Lt General Chait elaborated on the
SP’s Land Forces (SP’s): When was the first formal indication given to the armed forces about their likely employment for relief and rescue operations in Uttarakhand? Was the severity of the disaster known at that time and did the local units and formations start the relief and rescue work even before the formal ‘Operation Surya Hope’ was launched?
Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (CIDS): On June 16, there were heavy rains and cloud bursts on higher reaches. On June 17 morning, forward troops in Tilwara, Harsil, Kedarnath, Badrinath and Dharchula sectors reported heavy rains and cloud bursts. Reconnaissance (recce) parties of Army were moved forward proactively and immediately to assess the situation. No headway could be made as the bridges had been washed away and the recce parties had got stuck. This necessitated launch of additional parties. Weather did not allow flying of helicopters on recce missions either. Since inputs started arriving piecemeal, it was decided to prepare an intelligence preparation of the situation and preliminary estimates.