Indian Armed Forces

The Special Forces of India

Every nation’s armed forces has several components to deal with different faces of operations. One of those components almost all the major nations have is Special Forces. The Special Forces or SF, as the name suggests, are tasked with special kind of operations. They work strategically in small teams and are tasked with missions of high importance.

The Indian Armed Forces, viz. army, navy and airforce have 3 different SF. These are Parachute Regiment SF (Army), Marine Commandos or MARCOS (Navy) and Garud (Airforce). Apart from these, there are National Security Guards or NSG that work under the Home Ministry and Special Frontier Force or SFF that work under Cabinet Secretariat.

Here, we are going to see the Top 3 SF of Army, Navy and Airforce.

Parachute Regiment SF

Balidan badge of Para SF

The Parachute Regiment Special Forces or Para SF was formed in 1966. The idea was inspired from the SAS, that is the special forces of UK. The idea was put forward by Major Megh Singh of Brigade of the Guards and this was then came to be known as Meghdoot Force. It was then called as a commando unit and after decades of revolution and changes in working and use of this forces, it was designated as Special Forces.

There are 9 different Para SF units that operates in different geographical locations. These are

  • 1 PARA (SF)
  • 2 PARA (SF)
  • 3 PARA (SF)
  • 4 PARA (SF)
  • 9 PARA (SF)
  • 10 PARA (SF)
  • 11 PARA (SF)
  • 12 PARA (SF)
  • 21 PARA (SF)

Since its inception, the Para SF has taken part in many operations and came victorious. Some of the major operations carried out by Para SF are Operation Pawan, Operation Cactus, Operation Blue Star, Operation Apache, Operation Vijay, Surgical Strikes and so on.

The units derive its man on voluntary basis. The soldiers are put through a probation period for their selection in the units and are then subsequently trained for operations.

Marine Commandos or MARCOS

MARCOS Insignia

The MARCOS are the special force unit of Indian Navy and was formed in 1987. Initially, their training was undertaken by the Navy SEAL of USA for the first batch. Later on, the training and selection probation was conducted in coordination with Para SF. As the unit grew, the training and selection was undertaken solely by the MARCOS itself.

The MARCOS since its formation has participated in various operations like Operation Pawan, Operation Cactus, Operation Zabasdust, UN Peacekeeping Missions and Operation Black Tornado. The SF also plays an active role in dealing with the Counter Insurgency Operations in Kashmir valley.

The induction of men in the MARCOS SF is also voluntary. The training and selection process goes on as long as 2-3 years. The majority of training of MARCOS takes place over INS Abhimanyu. The training actually takes place at various agencies of the Indian navy and the Indian army. They also get training with the army’s paramilitary force at Indian special force training school.

Garud Special Forces

Garud SF insignia

The Garud is the Special Forces component of the Indian Airforce. It was formed in 2004, after several foiled attack attempts on the airbases. It was formed primarily to secure the airbases. Garud SF is tasked with the protection of critical Air Force bases and installations, search and rescue during peace and hostilities and disaster relief during calamities.

Garud personnel are enlisted as airmen in the Indian Air Force. The Garud commandos are organised into 15 ‘flights’. These flights are deployed at different airforce stations. Each flight is led by an officer who holds the rank of a Squadron Leader  and is composed of around 60 to 70 men who usually operate in a squad of 14 soldiers.

Unlike its counterparts in the Army and Navy, candidates for Garud Commandos are not selected from volunteers of other branches. Recruitment to the Garuds is done directly through airmen selection centres via advertisements. The officers willing to join the Garud SF can voluteer for it.

The Garud SF has operated actively at all the airbases, flushed out the terrorists at Pathankot Airbase in 2016, in Operation Rakh Hajin and UN Peacekeeping Missions in Congo.

In the upcoming articles we’ll see all the Special Forces of India in detail. Do let us know in the comments which SF you’re willing to join. Jai Hind!

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