Ten interesting facts about the Special Forces

The three arms of the Indian Armed Forces have a branch of specially trained army men, who can conduct special operations in times of special needs. These branches are together called the Special Forces of the country. They include Para SF of the Indian Army, MARCOS of the Indian Navy and the Garud Commando force of the Indian Air Force. The special military groups are deputed under the Armed Special Force Operation.

The MARCOS are trained after the US Navy Seals

The MARCOS are the special branch of the Indian Navy and are deftly trained in maritime warfare during times of unprecedented and unconventional conflict situations, terrorist attacks or even to provide rescue operations during natural disasters. The MARCOS is only comparable to the US Navy Seals who are known for their sudden and strong attacks.

Till now, some of the major operations that MARCOS had successfully undertaken are:

  • Operation Pawan (Sri Lanka-LTE conflict)
  • Operation Black Tornado (2008 Mumbai Terror Attack)
  • Various operations during the 1999 Kargil War.

The establishment of the Para SF

The special wing of the Indian Army called the Para SF was created in 1966 after the Indo-Pak conflict of 1965. They were a result of military endeavour by Major Megh Singh. A constituted a group of trained soldiers to engage in warfare behind enemy lines to try and break the enemy line of defense.

Due to their operations, they were then known as the Meghdoot Force, according to the character of Meghdoota in the epic Ramayana. Later the group joined the Parachute regiment and formed the first-ever Special force military group in the country.

The Para-military forces have their special force groups

The COBRA or the Commando Battalion for resolute Action is the special force branch of the Centre Reserve Police Force or the CRPF. The COBRA is trained to carry out operations in harsh climates, especially in forests or areas with thick vegetation. They excel in the art of camouflaging and are trained in the tactics of guerrilla warfare.

The COBRA, created in 2008, is also trained in parachute landings and has served during the Naxalite and Maoist movements.

Unlike the Para SF and the MARCOS, the Garud commando unit has commandos from all the three military branches

Garud, named after the mythical bird, is the special commando branch of the Indian Air Force. The main characteristics of this special group are that they choose commandos among volunteers of all the three military branches of the Indian Army. They go through tough training that spreads over three years and are trained to handle situations like plane hi-jacking, snow warfare, Para trouping and demolitions.

 “Magarmachh” and the “Dadiwali Fauj”

Special Operations Unit of the Indian Navy Marine Commandos (MARCOS) is nicknamed Magarmachhs (crocodiles) for their stealth and fierce attacks. They are also known to disguise in beards which have earned them the name “Dadiwali Fauj” (bearded soldiers) among imposters. They are sometimes also known as the sea lions. The MARCOS was founded in 1987.

Although they are a branch of the Indian Navy, the members of the MARCOS are trained to fight even in the harshest environments- be it the sea, on land and in air. Their help was unparalleled in saving thousands of lives during the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

The Black Cat commandos- an independent special force

The National Security guards, also known as the Black Cats because of their all-black uniform and stealth on-land attack skills, were created in 1986. They are trained in the systematic methods of countering terrorism. They are deployed during times of terror attacks, or threats towards the life of the country’s citizens.

They are also deployed to ensure safety for VIPs. They played an enormous role during the Mumbai Attacks of 2008, clearing the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Grand and the Nariman Point of all terror forces. They neither fall completely under the military forces nor the police force, but have members of both the armed forces.


The Ghatak Force

Named the Ghatak, meaning “killer”, they are an infantry platoon that is a part of the Indian Army. They are the ones to lead a battalion during wars and are the once to spearhead the attacks on the enemy forces. They consist of a group of the most well-trained, physically fit and agile commandos with superior weaponry, who has to endure a difficult training process.

Special Forces with the fastest response time in the world

Force One was created after the terror attack of 2008 in Mumbai that claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers and armed officials. The job of the Force One is to guard the city of Mumbai against any further terror activities in the future and also to be on a lookout on the Arabian Sea shores for any attempt at illegal trespassing. They can respond to mishaps about terror attacks within fifteen minutes, arguably the fastest for any armed force in the world. 

 Classified and coveted military special force

After the 1962 Sino-China conflict, a group of well-trained Special Frontier Force was created to carry out coveted operations across the Indo-China borders in case of any future war between the two countries. They work under RAW and report directly to the Prime Minister through the Doctorate General of Security of the Cabinet Secretariat. Their activities are kept secret, and even the military does not have access to the information they pass on and the operations they undertake.  

Protecting VVIPs within the country

The Special Protection Group is a special security force for the Government of India. It is bound to provide security to the Prime Minister, his/her immediate family members and assess any threat by gathering intelligence. They had perfected themselves after the assassination of former PM Rajeev Gandhi. The works of the special force rarely the appreciation that they deserve. However, they form the very basis of the armed, intelligence and security services of the country.