MARCOS (Marine Commandos), is a special forces unit that was raised by the Indian Navy in 1987 for direct action, special reconnaissance, amphibious warfare and counter-terrorism.
The training of MARCOS is probably the most stringent in the world with the commandos being tested for physical and mental toughness.
Called as the “Dadiwala fauj” , meaning the “bearded army” by terrorists because of their bearded disguise in civil areas, MARCOS are capable of operations in any kind of terrain, but specialise primarily in maritime operations.
2. Para Commandos
Formed in 1966, the Para Commandos are part of the highly-trained Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army and are the largest part of the Special Forces of India. The parachute units of the Indian Army are among the oldest airborne units in the world.
The main aim of a Parachute Regiment is quick deployment of soldiers behind enemy lines to attack the enemy from behind and destroy their first line of defence.
This shot of the Indus River in Kargil shows the Tiger Hill in the backdrop. The Para Commandos played a pivotal role in helping India claim this peak from the Pakistanis during the 1999 Kargil War.
3. Ghatak Force
True to its name ghatak (which means ‘killer’ in Hindi), this infantry platoon goes for the kill and spearheads strikes ahead of a battalion. Every infantry battalion in the Indian Army has one platoon and only the most physically fit and motivated soldiers make it to the Ghatak Platoon.
The Ghatak soldiers are well-trained, superiorly-armed and equipped to handle situations like terror strikes, hostage situations and counter insurgency operations.
COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) is a specialised unit of the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) that was formed to counter Naxalism in India. It’s one of the few Indian special forces, that’s exclusively trained in guerrilla warfare.
Since its inception in 2008, it has successfully wiped out a number of Naxalite groups from India. Set up with a grant of Rs 13,000 million, it is one of the best-equipped paramilitary forces in India.
5. Force One
Force One came into being in the year 2010 after the deadly 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. The prime role of this special elite force is to protect the city of Mumbai from terrorist attacks.
This force boasts of the fastest response time in the world and responds to a terror strike in less than 15 minutes. Respect!
6. Special Frontier Force
Raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Sino-Indian war as a special force for covert operations behind Chinese lines in the event of another war with China, it was never really used for its intended role and has mainly served as an elite special operations and counter-insurgency force.
This covert paramilitary special force operates under India’s external intelligence agency RAW and reports directly to the Prime Minister via the Directorate General of Security in the Cabinet Secretariat. It’s so classified a set-up that even the army may not know what it’s up to.
7. National Security Guard
The National Security Guard is India’s premier counter-terrorist force. The NSG provides security to VIPs, conducts anti-sabotage checks, and is responsible for neutralising terrorist threats to vital installations.
The selection process is so demanding that it has a drop out rate of about 70–80 percent. The 7500 personnel strong NSG is evenly divided between the Special Action Group (SAG) and the Special Rangers Group (SRG).
8. Garud Commando Force
Formed in 2004, the Garud Commando Force is the special forces unit of the Indian Air Force. The training for being a Garud is the longest among all the Indian Special Forces. The total duration of training before a trainee can qualify as a fully operational Garud is around 3 years.
The youngest special force of the services, the Garud Commando Force is entrusted with the duty of protecting critical Air Force bases, carrying out rescue operation during calamities and other missions in support of air operations.
9. The Special Protection Group
The Special Protection Group is a security force of the Government of India that is responsible for the protection of the Prime Minister of India, the former Prime Ministers and members of their immediate family members.
They have to gather intelligence, assess threats and provide protection. Their track record has been impeccable after the Rajiv Gandhi assassination and no attacks have been carried out on any Prime Minister ever since.