India has the fourth most powerful military in the world which protects the seventh largest country in the world in area including land and water. India has its police force to enforce law and order in the country but when the situation got out of hand. Our special forces are sent to handle the situation.
Like the situation during the 26/11 terror attack, when NSG was called they flushed out all the terrorists from Bombay. In this article you will read about the Special Forces of India.
Special Forces Of India
India has several Special Forces (SF) units. The three branches of the Indian Armed Forces have separate special forces units.
The Para SF of the Indian Army, the MARCOS of the Indian Navy and the Garud Commando Force of the Indian Air Force. There are other special forces which are not controlled by the military but operate under civilian organizations such as the Home Ministry’s National Security Guard and Research and Analysis Wing’s Special Group (India). Small groups from the military SF units are deputed in the Armed Forces Special Operations Division, a unified command and control structure.
The Research and Analysis Wing, the external Intelligence agency of India, has separate special forces under its control, namely the Special Group and the Special Frontier Force.
Para Special Forces
Para (Special Forces), also known as Para SF, are a group of special forces battalions of the Parachute Regiment in the Indian Army. These units specialize in various roles including counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, counter-insurgency and Direct Action.
It has been involved in various operations including the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, Operation Bluestar, Operation Pawan, Operation Cactus, Kargil War, Operation Ginger, 2015 Indian counter-insurgency operation in Myanmar, 2016 Pampore stand-off, 2016 Indian Line of Control strike and in several anti-terror operations.
The Parachute Regiment presently has fifteen Special Forces, two Territorial Army, and one Counter-Insurgency battalion in its fold. Due to the absence of centralized command and lack of a centralized and standardized procedure for selection, even among the Para (SF) battalions, selection procedures vary. Meaning there is a different standard to get into different Para (SF) battalions.
Currently the Para Special Forces consists of 15 battalions:
- 1 PARA (SF) – Western Command
- 2 PARA (SF) – Southern Command
- 3 PARA (SF) – South-Western Command
- 4 PARA (SF) – Northern Command
- 5 PARA (SF) – 50(I) Para Brigade
- 6 PARA (SF) – 50(I) Para Brigade
- 7 PARA (SF) – 50(I) Para Brigade
- 9 PARA (SF) – Northern Command
- 10 PARA (SF) – Southern Command
- 11 PARA (SF) – Eastern Command
- 12 PARA (SF) – Eastern Command
- 13 PARA (SF) – Southern Command
- 21 PARA (SF) – Eastern Command
- 23 PARA (SF) – 50(I) Para Brigade
- 29 PARA (SF) – 50(I) Para Brigade
MARCOS (Marine Commandos) Special Forces
The Marine Commandos (MARCOS) and officially called the Marine Commando Force (MCF), are the Special Operations Forces unit of the Indian Navy and are responsible for conducting special operations. MARCOS are capable of operating in all types of environments; at sea, in air and on land.
The force has gradually acquired more experience and an international reputation for professionalism. The MARCOS regularly undertake specialized maritime operations in Jammu and Kashmir through the Jhelum River and Wular Lake, a 65 square kilometers freshwater lake, and conduct counter-insurgency operations in the region.
Some of the duties of MARCOS include:-
- Providing support to amphibious operations.
- Special surveillance and amphibious reconnaissance operations.
- Clandestine operations inside hostile territory, including diving operations and special raids.
- Direct action
- Hostage rescue operations.
- Counter-terrorism operations.
- Asymmetric warfare.
- Foreign internal defence.
Additionally, MARCOS can also assist the Indian Air Force in Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) missions.
Garud Commandos Special Forces
The Garud commandos are the special forces of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Their tasks include counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, providing security to IAF’s assets and various air force-specific special operations. First conceived in 2002, this unit was officially established on February 6, 2004.
The mandated tasks of the Garuds include direct action, special reconnaissance, rescuing downed pilots in hostile territory, establishing airbases in hostile territory and providing air-traffic control to these airbases. The Garuds also undertake suppression of enemy air defences and the destruction of other enemy assets such as radars, evaluation of the outcomes of Indian airstrikes and use laser designators to guide Indian airstrikes.
Garud forces are tasked with the protection of critical Air Force bases and installations; search and rescue during peacetime and hostilities and disaster relief during calamities. Presently, Garuds are deployed in Congo as part of the UN peacekeeping operations.
The Special Group (SG) is the special forces unit of Research and Analysis Wing, India’s foreign intelligence agency. It is also known as 4 Vikas, 22 SF and 22 SG. The unit is considered to be composed of the most elite soldiers of India and its responsibilities include conducting those operations with which the Indian government may not wish to be overtly associated.
The SG was raised in the following year under Project Sunray. The unit is extremely secretive; its existence was previously unknown to the public. SG has reportedly undertaken black operations outside India. There are a total of 4 SG squadrons, with each squadron consisting of four troops. Each troop has a specialized skill-set. SG draws its personnel from all the branches of the Indian military, primarily from the Special Forces.
Special Frontier Force
The Special Frontier Force (SFF) is an Indian special operations unit created on 14 November 1962. It mainly comprised Tibetan refugees living in India. Now it has increased in size and scope of operations. Its primary goal originally was to conduct covert operations behind Chinese lines in the event of another Sino-Indian War.
SFF has fought in India’s major external wars including the Bangladesh Liberation War and the Kargil War. It has also been involved in internal security, including Operation Blue Star and also serving as the “Personal Force” of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to suppress opposition parties during the state of emergency from 1975 to 1977.
The force was put under the direct supervision of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), and later the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency, and is not part of the Indian Army but functions under their operational control with its own rank structure, charter and training infrastructure.
National Security Guard
The National Security Guard (NSG), known as Black Cats, is a counter-terrorism unit of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs. It was founded on 16 October 1984, following Operation Blue Star, for combating terrorist activities and protecting states against internal disturbances. Formalised in the Parliament of India under the National Security Guard Act, 1986. It is one of the seven Central Armed Police Forces of India.
The NSG is trained to conduct counter-terrorist tasks, including countering hijackings on the land, sea, and air; bomb disposal (search, detection, and neutralization of IEDs); PBI (Post Blast Investigation) and Hostage Rescue missions
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