Special Forces of India

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The Special Forces of India refer to those units which are under the direct command of the Indian military and specifically organized, trained, and are equipped to conduct and support special operations.

Indian Army[edit]

Indian Paratroopers

PARA SF[edit]

It is a special force unit of the Indian Army. It was derived from the Meghdoot Force, which saw action during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. The Para Commandos were first deployed in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. They took part in the 1984 Operation Blue Star. They were deployed in Sri Lanka in 1980s during India's involvement in the civil war, codenamed Operation Pawan. They also saw action in the Operation Cactus in 1988 in Maldives and in the 1999 Kargil War.[1]

The list of PARA (SF) Battalions are:[2]

1 PARA (SF) | 2 PARA (SF) | 3 PARA (SF) | 4 PARA (SF) | 9 PARA (SF) | 10 PARA (SF) | 11 PARA (SF) | 12 PARA (SF) and 21 PARA (SF).

Indian Navy[edit]

HAL Dhruv helicopter of the Indian Navy extracting Marine Commandos (MARCOS)
MARCOS on Indian Navy rescue boat belonging to INS Ranvijay (D55) during Exercise INDRA 2014


Main article: MARCOS

This unit was created in 1987 by the Indian Navy. They saw action during Operation Pawan in 1988. They were also a part of Operation Cactus in 1988. They have also been deployed in Wular Lake which was a major infiltration point for terrorists.[1]

During the 2008 Mumbai Attacks, MARCOS had participated in the operations along with the National Security Guards. The MARCOS, which had a base in Alibag, could have been called in much earlier, but were delayed due to bureaucratic indecision.[3][4][5]


Indian Air Force[edit]

Garud Commando Force[edit]

Main article: Garud Commando Force
IAF Garud Commandos in a drill
Garud Commandos

It is an Indian Air Force unit which was unveiled in February 2004. It primarily protects Indian Air Force installations from terrorist attacks.[7]

Garud trainees undergo a 72-week Basic Training course, which 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.

Garuds have diverse responsibilities. Besides base protection force to protect airfields and key assets in hostile environments, some advanced Garud units are trained like Army Para Commandos and the Naval MARCOS to undertake missions deep behind enemy lines. [8]

During hostilities, Garuds undertake combat search and rescue, rescue of downed airmen and other forces from behind enemy lines, suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD), radar busting, combat control, missile and munitions guidance ("lasing" of targets) and other missions in support of air operations. It has been suggested that they undertake an offensive role including raids on enemy air bases etc. during times of war. Apart from protecting air bases from sabotage and attacks by commando raids, they are also tasked to seal off weapons systems, fighter hangars and other major systems during intrusions and conflicts.

Note: The security of IAF installations such as radars, airfields and other establishments near border areas is generally performed by the Air Force Police and the Defence Security Corps (DSC).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b India: Foreign Policy & Government Guide. International Business Publications. 1 May 2001. pp. 123–124, 130–131. ISBN 978-0-7397-8298-9. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  2. ^ http://www.indianparachuteregiment.kar.nic.in/units.htm
  3. ^ "Mumbai attacks: the bureaucracy of India's marine commandos". The Guardian. 6 Dec 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Deadly delay in calling the marine commandos". The Economic Times. 30 Nov 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "15 Reasons The Indian Navy MARCOS Are The Best In The World". India Times. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "15 Reasons The Indian Navy MARCOS Are The Best In The World". India times. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Garud: IAF's commando force takes off". Rediff. Press Trust of India. 6 Feb 2004. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Garud: IAF's commando force takes off, Rediff.com, 6 February 2004.

Further reading[edit]