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.
MARCOS, previously named as Marine Commando Force (MCF), is the special forces unit of the Indian Navy created for conducting special operations .All MARCOS personnel are males selected from the Indian Navy. They are selected when they are in their early 20s and have to go through a stringent selection process and training. The selection standards are extremely high. The training is a continuous process. American and British special forces assisted in the initial training, which now consists of a two-year course for new recruits. The MARCOS are trained in every kind of weapon and instruments, from knives and crossbows to sniper rifles, handguns, assault rifles, submachine guns and bare hands. Being divers, they can reach hostile shores swimming underwater.
Para (Special Forces) is a special forces unit of the Indian Army’s Parachute Regiment .
The unit (Para Commandos, Indian Army) first saw action in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, the first six-man assault team was inserted 240 kilometres (150 miles) deep into Indus and Charchao, where they carried out raids. The assault team killed 473 and wounded 140 on the Pakistani side. In addition, they also destroyed 35mm artillery guns of the Pakistan independent battery, and took 18 members of the elite Special Services Group of the Pakistan Army hostage. They also destroyed an airfield. In Bangladesh 2 PARA (Airborne), which was a part of 50 (Independent) Parachute Brigade, carried out India’s first airborne assault operation to capture Poongli Bridge in Mymensingh District near Dhaka. Subsequently, they were the first unit to enter Dhaka. For this action 2 PARA were given the Battle Honour of Poongli Bridge and the Theater Honour Dhaka.All Indian paratroopers are volunteers. Some enter the Para regiments fresh from recruitment, while others transfer in from regular army units.
The Garud Commando Force is the special forces unit of the Indian Air Force. It was formed in September 2004 and has a current strength of approximately 1080 personnel.The unit derives its name from Garuda, a divine bird-like creature of Hindu Mythology.
Garud is tasked with the protection of critical Air Force bases and installations; search and rescue during peace and hostilities and disaster relief during calamities.After attempts by terrorists to attack two major air bases in Jammu and Kashmir in 2001, Indian Air Force commanders felt the need for a specialized force to protect these critical elements and to have a dedicated Commando Force trained in Special Forces techniques .In order to address the need for a dedicated force, in September 2003, the Government of India authorized a 1080 strong force to be raised and trained on the lines of the Para commandos of the army and MARCOS of the Indian Navy.In the aftermath of the Pathankot Terror Attack, Indian Air Force decided to raise ten additional squadrons of Garud commandos, comprising about 700 personnel, bringing the total strength of the force to 1780.Garud airman wear the “Airman Beret Badge” on the cap. They are also parachute trained, and wear the para wings above the right pocket. The “Garud Force Patch” can be seen worn on the sleeve. The Garud Commando Badge, which was worn on the right pocket and resembles the NSG badge, is no longer in use. Instead they now have a Garud Winged Badge which is gold in colour and worn on the left chest, similar to where pilot/aircrew wings are worn.The Garuds used to wear a black beret, instead of the traditional maroon beret of the other Indian Special Forces units, but now wear the maroon beret. They sport the operational paratroopers brevet on the right chest. The formation ensignia is worn on the left shoulder. The Garuds are also entitled to wear “IAF GARUD” titles on the sleeves.
Ghatak Platoon, or Ghatak Commandos, is a special operations capable infantry platoon. There is one platoon in every infantry battalion in the Indian Army.Their operational role is similar to Scout Sniper Platoon, STA platoon of the USMC and the Patrols platoon of the British Army. They can be tasked by the battalion or brigade commander to carry out tasks such as special reconnaissance, raids on enemy artillery positions, airfields, supply dumps and tactical headquarters. They are also capable of directing artillery and air attacks on targets deep within enemy lines.A Ghatak Platoon is usually 20-men strong, consisting of a commanding Captain, 2 non-commissioned officers and some special teams like marksman and spotter pairs, light machine gunners, medic and radio operator. The remaining soldiers act as assault troopers.The most physically fit and motivated soldiers in an infantry battalion are selected to be a part of the Ghatak Platoon.Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav of 18 Grenadiers was a part of the Ghatak Commando platoon during the action on Tiger Hill in the Kargil War, for which he was awarded India’s highest gallantry award the Param Vir Chakra.
The Special Frontier Force (SFF) is a paramilitary special force of India created on 14 November 1962. Its main goal originally was to conduct covert operations behind Chinese lines in the event of another Sino-Indian War.After the Sino-Indian war and towards the end of 1962, after hectic lobbying by Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Nehru government ordered the raising of an elite commando unit and specialised mountain divisions primarily composed of Tibetan resistance fighters. Chushi Gangdruk leaders were contacted for recruitment of Khampas into this new unit. An initial strength of 5000 men, mostly Khampas were recruited at its new Mountain Training Facility at Chakrata, Dehradun.
The SFF made its home base at Chakrata, 100 km from the city of Dehra Dun. Chakrata was home to the large Tibetan refugee population and was a mountain town in the foothills of the Himalayas. Starting with a force of 12,000 men, the SFF commenced six months of training in rock climbing and guerrilla warfare. The Intelligence agencies from India and the US also helped in raising the force; namely CIA & RAW. The SFF’s weapons were all provided by the US and consisted mainly of M-1, M-2 and M-3 machine guns. Heavy weapons were not provided.