If you ask people to list out special forces in the world most people will remember Delta Forces, Rangers, SAS etc. This is thanks to the abundance of references to them in Media be it books, movies or TV series etc. Which is all well and good but what people don’t know or realize that India also has eight kinds of Special Forces that are relatively unknown to most people. Infact even though I am a son of an Indian Air Force officer I only knew about 2 out of the 8 forces listed below which is kind of sad. So to make things right I am sharing the list so that more people are aware of this and the knowledge is shared.
Without further ado here’s the list of Indian Special Forces: (Click on the name to visit their Wikipedia page for more details)
MARCOS or Marine Commandos is India’s most lethal special force. Though they are trained to engage in battle on all terrains, MARCOS commandos are experts in maritime warfare. The physical test to join MARCOS is so gruesome that more than 80 percent of the applicants drop out in the first, three-day long, physical fitness and aptitude test. Those who successfully complete the test are subjected to a five-week-long process called the ‘hell’s week’ where commandos are put through extreme sleep deprivation coupled with the most difficult physical tasks. These commandos are even capable of firing while lying down, standing, running full-sprint, even backwards and looking into a mirror – with a reaction time of 0.27 seconds. The final stages of the training include an 800-meter long thigh-high mud crawl called the ‘death crawl’, loaded with 25 kg of gear which is concluded with shooting a target 25 meters away with a man standing next to it.
They are also known as the ‘Dadiwala fauj‘, meaning the “Bearded army” because of their bearded disguise in civil areas.
Para commandos is one of the most highly trained special forces of the Indian Army. Because of the extremely fatal nature of the operations they perform, they are kept at optimum level of operational efficiency and physical fitness, and only the most physically fit, mentally robust, intelligent, and highly motivated soldiers are inducted in the fleet. Para commandos go through the most grueling commando training regimes in the world, apart from daily 20km runs with 60km baggage and man-to-man assault practices; they even have to free fall from belligerent heights of as much as 33,500 feet. They are also highly trained in terrain and environment warfare and deep sea diving. Their most notable and fatal operations included the 1971 war with Pakistan, the 1999 Kargil war and the infamous Operation Bluestar in 1984.
The Garud Commando Force formed in 2004 with over 2000 commandos a unit of the Indian Air Force and specializes in Airfield Seizure, Special Reconnaissance, Airborne Operations, Air Assault, Special Operations Combat Search and Rescue, and counter insurgency. The training for being a Garud commando is so tough that it can take up to 3 years to qualify as a fully operational Garud. Also, Garud commandos are extremely adept at anti-hijack and counter insurgency training, jungle and snow survival techniques, specialized weapon handling and advanced driving skills.
The word Ghatak means deadly in Hindi and it aptly describes the members of the Ghatak Force which is a special operations infantry platoon that acts as shock troops and lead man-to-man assaults ahead of a battalion. They specialize in raids on enemy artillery positions, airfields, supply dumps and tactical headquarters while also being experts at directing artillery and air attacks on targets deep within enemy lines. Only the most physically and mentally fit soldiers make it into the Ghatak force which is usually 20-men strong. Since they face the enemy face-to-face, they are trained to be undisputed at heli-borne assault, rock climbing, mountain warfare, demolitions, advanced weapons training, close quarter battle and infantry tactics.
Created in 1986, the NSG or Black Cats fall neither under Central Armed Police Forces nor under Paramilitary Forces of India. It’s instead a mix of commandos from both the Indian Army and Central Armed Police Forces which is lead by a ‘Director General’ from the Indian Police Service. Comprising two units – the Special Action Group (SAG), which consists entirely of Indian Army personnel; and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG) for counter terrorism activities – the NSG is equipped with some of the most advanced weapons in the world. The selection process is so brutal that it has a dropout rate of 70-80 percent. And the few, who qualify to become NSGs, are sent off to train for another 9 months to become Phantom NSG Commandos.
No, this is not COBRA Command from G.I Joe. 🙂
COBRA actually stands for ‘Commando Battalion for Resolute Action’ and it is probably the only Indian special force that is specifically trained in guerilla warfare to tackle the notorious Naxalite groups in the country. A part of the CRPF, COBRA commandos are masters of camouflage, jungle warfare, parachute jumps, precision strikes and ambushes. Their sniper units are also one of the best among the armed forces of India.
Created on 14th November 1962, the SFF is a paramilitary special force which specializes in special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare and covert operations. This specialized force was created in the wake of another Sino-Indian war and it operates in sync with RAW (Research and Analysis Wing). The commandos are supremely trained in guerrilla tactics, mountain and jungle warfare, and parachute jumps.
After the Mumbai terror attacks, the Maharashtra government brought together the best commandos and assembled the youngest Indian special force called Force One. The sole motive of this squad is to protect the Mumbai metropolitan area when under threat. Force One is one of the fastest response teams in the world and can get ready for action in less than 15 minutes. From over 3000 applications, 216 of the best soldiers were selected who were then trained under close guidance from the Israeli Special Forces.
So how many of these did you know about?
Well this is all for now. Will post more later.
Source: My Dad 🙂