Indian Special Forces

OFBkaRakhwala

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I have been thinking a lot about why Indian Special Forces aren't "special" and why they are super-infantry. Of course, I do consider the MARCOS to be SOF (not necessarily in the way that Delta or SAS are), but even they are not, in reality, all that special.

I may be wrong but I believe this is an issue of doctrine. India's entire approach to its military doctrine has been defensive. I believe this has been reflected in its Special Forces. The MARCOS's first operational deployment (if memory serves) was to keep the LTTE's "navy" at bay in Sri Lanka. Throughout their history, the Paras have served as raiders (even the 2016 strikes and the 2015 operation were raids, given just how many were involved in terms of numbers). The Garuds haven't really done anything of note yet and act as air base security in Kashmir. And they all operate in battlefields that are within reach of India's conventional forces (with the only exception being UN operations but I don't believe that counts).

Contrarily, NATO SOF (let's focus on the UK and US) operate on the arse-end of the world, typically far away from the full support of their conventional capabilities. Yes they are supported when on operation, by helicopters or maybe a gunship or two. But in contrast to, let us say 2016, if things went to shit, the Paras would have had overwhelming fire support from arty and regular infantry units. And, from what we know about the Garud and MARCOS ops, they have never operated outside of India (excluding MARCOS in Sri Lanka).

Now, I am not justifying the haphazard training of Paras (I mean, each battalion trains separately? What the actual fuck?), the unapparent need of the Garuds as an SOF, or the relative combat inexperience of the MARCOs. Neither am I justifying the extremely lacking kit standardisation of the ParaSF, which is at a level where they are now indistinguishable from an RR soldier, save for the fact that they carry M4s and Tavors.

I am saying that, to me, it makes sense why none of these units can be directly compared to the SAS or Delta or anything of the sort. They're just not the same, nor are they meant to be like them. I am not commenting on their individual or unit tactics, but rather the strategy behind their existence. MARCOS exist as a specialised VBSS force and gives the navy the capability to conduct raids if it needs to. The Paras are raiders, pure and simple, that can jump out of aircraft - this is what they excel at and I feel like, even for veteran battalions such as 9 Para, the SF moniker is unfit because they simply aren't SF. The Garuds honestly confuse me with their existence, apart from airbase security it's hard for me to see what they provide to the IAF. In regards to the Paras, the fact that (even after they were all converted to SF) they still conduct large scale airborne exercises should exemplify what the Indian Army thinks of them - super airborne infantry. The MARCOS being regularly used for VBSS instead of the Indian Navy's dedicated VBSS teams, is an indication of their perception among the Indian Admiralty.

This is because, in my understanding, the Indian Armed Froces believe they have no need for dedicated SOF. This thinking would not be new - the IA discontinued sniper courses in its infantry schools because it did not believe they were needed in an era of close quarter counter insurgency. The Paras may, at one point in history, have been dedicated SOF (I see no evidence in history for this, even the Chachro Raid was just that - a raid) but now, the operations they carry out aren't that different from RR or Ghataks. You won't see a platoon of Paras crossing into PoK, securing an HVT and getting them back to India without raising an alarm because that's just not what the unit's strategic requirements are anymore - nor is it required out of any unit in the Indian Armed Forces.

Sorry for the long and scatterbrained message. Please do let me know if I am wrong. These are just my thoughts
One of the Marcos first operation was to plant underwater explosives in one of the dockyard used by the LTTE, Indian Navy as a whole reason responsible for blocking of any possible smuggling routes.


Overwhelming support does not work like that, the best they would have had is the QRT teams on standby + maybe some artillery, By the time orders would have reached to the infantry units they would have been finished if not rescued by the Immediate support planned. You just can't call a infatry camp and say to them go to this and this district of POK all this takes time.


Marcos regularly conducts anti piracy until you are ready to jump into a complex war abroad so that some guys on internet can boast about it.


Garuds serve a purpose might educate yourself on it. Marcos have decent experience of varying degrees.

The rest of the points are laughable
 

OFBkaRakhwala

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I don’t see how European SFs doing operations on soil occupied by American (near singlehadedly) is behind the lines. I just don’t. Operation Khukri is similar to whatever shit European (not US) SFs did in Iraq, as it was the US army which was disproportionately responsible for the collapse of Taliban from Kabul and Saddams regime
Ah forgot of Khukri thnx.
 

Killbot

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Operation Cactus, and its not our fault that the enemies are just at our borders, Most of the raids of NATO SOF did was well within their own Artillery range. You play on your strengths and conditions. No white indian team would be conducting operations on the European or American soil just to show dick and say we got big one too. Snatch and Grab operations are conducted by RAW and sometimes police ATS teams on foreign soil as they deem fit. And it has been showcased prior that the capability was there but lacked the will. The MeA and PMO take things diplomatically still since we rarely are the direct target say somewhere in Middle East for example. Tho this has been a bit and miss few times
Operation cactus was a Battalion level airborne operation. And I did say recent memory.

I'm not talking about the ME. I'm talking about supporting insurgencies within Pakistan. For eg in Khyber pakhtunkhwa or Balochistan. Or even in Punjab proper.
 

Dom the Dumb

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One of the Marcos first operation was to plant underwater explosives in one of the dockyard used by the LTTE, Indian Navy as a whole reason responsible for blocking of any possible smuggling routes.


Overwhelming support does not work like that, the best they would have had is the QRT teams on standby + maybe some artillery, By the time orders would have reached to the infantry units they would have been finished if not rescued by the Immediate support planned. You just can't call a infatry camp and say to them go to this and this district of POK all this takes time.


Marcos regularly conducts anti piracy until you are ready to jump into a complex war abroad so that some guys on internet can boast about it.


Garuds serve a purpose might educate yourself on it. Marcos have decent experience of varying degrees.

The rest of the points are laughable
Nothing of what you said disproves any of what I said though lmao. The MARCOS LTTE operations I'd already adressed, anti-piracy ops are no different to VBSS and other nations don't use special forces for it (unless it's really necessary, like the technical sniping required for something like Captain Phillips scenario). For the 2016 raid, regular units along the LoC, from infantry to artillery, were already providing support to the Paras. There were massive artillery salvos and the infantry along the LoC did not let up. So that point is completely invalid.

And I'm sure Garuds serve a purpose, I'm just not sure what purpose they serve.

"Rest of the points are laughable", i.e I don't want to accept there is any truth in what you are saying.

If they are laughable, tell me why. Every operation conducted by the ParaSF has been large in its scale - all actions were at least on a company level. Chachro Raid were conducted by Alpha and Charlie Coy, 10 Para. Op Mandhol, an unknown coy of 9 Para aided by an entire regiment of artillery, 195 Mountain. Op Bluestar, 1 understrength company of ParaSF supported by local police, 3 Vijayanta Squadrons, 8 BMP-1s, 2 paramilitary battalions and the 8th Mech Inf. In the IPKF, the ParaSF were used no differently to airborne and were inserted during Op Pawan right alongside regular heliborne troops. Op Cactus, the entire 6 Para battalion. Kargil, 9 whole battalions. Op Khukri, Paras fought alongside regular units - not separately or behind enemy lines, right alongside the Indian regular units. For Myanmar, it was an understrength company supported by artillery and AR and IA QRTs on standby. For 2016, pretty much the whole of 4 and 9 Para, like 4 companies total with entire sectors of the LoC providing covering fire for their inflitration and subsequent exfiltration. ParaSF conducted a raid even in 2020 that was no different to the operational profile of something like the Gurkhas. Even if you listen to the stories told by ParaSF veterans, they will often speak of having large teams.

The MARCOS are combat experienced but less so than the IA units, that is what I meant by relative combat inexperience. I did not mean to say that they have no combat experience.

I do not believe that anything you have said or any points you have raised disprove my assessment: the Indian Armed Forces' SOF cannot be compared to NATO or even Russian SOF because their doctrines, and therefore their use, is not the same. The doctrine dictates the SOF and that is why, from the POV an American or European doctrine, ours are no good but from an Indian doctrine, they do what they need to do as well as can be done.
 

OFBkaRakhwala

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Operation cactus was a Battalion level airborne operation. And I did say recent memory.

I'm not talking about the ME. I'm talking about supporting insurgencies within Pakistan. For eg in Khyber pakhtunkhwa or Balochistan. Or even in Punjab proper.
That's not a SF operation atleast from India's perspective rather a intelligence agency led one.
 

OFBkaRakhwala

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Nothing of what you said disproves any of what I said though lmao. The MARCOS LTTE operations I'd already adressed, anti-piracy ops are no different to VBSS and other nations don't use special forces for it (unless it's really necessary, like the technical sniping required for something like Captain Phillips scenario). For the 2016 raid, regular units along the LoC, from infantry to artillery, were already providing support to the Paras. There were massive artillery salvos and the infantry along the LoC did not let up. So that point is completely invalid.

And I'm sure Garuds serve a purpose, I'm just not sure what purpose they serve.

"Rest of the points are laughable", i.e I don't want to accept there is any truth in what you are saying.

If they are laughable, tell me why. Every operation conducted by the ParaSF has been large in its scale - all actions were at least on a company level. Chachro Raid were conducted by Alpha and Charlie Coy, 10 Para. Op Mandhol, an unknown coy of 9 Para aided by an entire regiment of artillery, 195 Mountain. Op Bluestar, 1 understrength company of ParaSF supported by local police, 3 Vijayanta Squadrons, 8 BMP-1s, 2 paramilitary battalions and the 8th Mech Inf. In the IPKF, the ParaSF were used no differently to airborne and were inserted during Op Pawan right alongside regular heliborne troops. Op Cactus, the entire 6 Para battalion. Kargil, 9 whole battalions. Op Khukri, Paras fought alongside regular units - not separately or behind enemy lines, right alongside the Indian regular units. For Myanmar, it was an understrength company supported by artillery and AR and IA QRTs on standby. For 2016, pretty much the whole of 4 and 9 Para, like 4 companies total with entire sectors of the LoC providing covering fire for their inflitration and subsequent exfiltration. ParaSF conducted a raid even in 2020 that was no different to the operational profile of something like the Gurkhas. Even if you listen to the stories told by ParaSF veterans, they will often speak of having large teams.

The MARCOS are combat experienced but less so than the IA units, that is what I meant by relative combat inexperience. I did not mean to say that they have no combat experience.

I do not believe that anything you have said or any points you have raised disprove my assessment: the Indian Armed Forces' SOF cannot be compared to NATO or even Russian SOF because their doctrines, and therefore their use, is not the same. The doctrine dictates the SOF and that is why, from the POV an American or European doctrine, ours are no good but from an Indian doctrine, they do what they need to do as well as can be done.
Search Operation Dawn of Gulf of Aden, there was one similar sounding by Indonesian too. Many anti piracy ops actually involve hostages (which are the crews of the ship involved most of the time). VBSS ops is very much a SOF arena or until 22 Nations are idiots to include it in the RIMPAC SOF phase

Dude wtf are you even? I ain't wasting my time congratulations on whatever you wanna believe.
 

OFBkaRakhwala

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Nothing of what you said disproves any of what I said though lmao. The MARCOS LTTE operations I'd already adressed, anti-piracy ops are no different to VBSS and other nations don't use special forces for it (unless it's really necessary, like the technical sniping required for something like Captain Phillips scenario). For the 2016 raid, regular units along the LoC, from infantry to artillery, were already providing support to the Paras. There were massive artillery salvos and the infantry along the LoC did not let up. So that point is completely invalid.

And I'm sure Garuds serve a purpose, I'm just not sure what purpose they serve.

"Rest of the points are laughable", i.e I don't want to accept there is any truth in what you are saying.

If they are laughable, tell me why. Every operation conducted by the ParaSF has been large in its scale - all actions were at least on a company level. Chachro Raid were conducted by Alpha and Charlie Coy, 10 Para. Op Mandhol, an unknown coy of 9 Para aided by an entire regiment of artillery, 195 Mountain. Op Bluestar, 1 understrength company of ParaSF supported by local police, 3 Vijayanta Squadrons, 8 BMP-1s, 2 paramilitary battalions and the 8th Mech Inf. In the IPKF, the ParaSF were used no differently to airborne and were inserted during Op Pawan right alongside regular heliborne troops. Op Cactus, the entire 6 Para battalion. Kargil, 9 whole battalions. Op Khukri, Paras fought alongside regular units - not separately or behind enemy lines, right alongside the Indian regular units. For Myanmar, it was an understrength company supported by artillery and AR and IA QRTs on standby. For 2016, pretty much the whole of 4 and 9 Para, like 4 companies total with entire sectors of the LoC providing covering fire for their inflitration and subsequent exfiltration. ParaSF conducted a raid even in 2020 that was no different to the operational profile of something like the Gurkhas. Even if you listen to the stories told by ParaSF veterans, they will often speak of having large teams.

The MARCOS are combat experienced but less so than the IA units, that is what I meant by relative combat inexperience. I did not mean to say that they have no combat experience.

I do not believe that anything you have said or any points you have raised disprove my assessment: the Indian Armed Forces' SOF cannot be compared to NATO or even Russian SOF because their doctrines, and therefore their use, is not the same. The doctrine dictates the SOF and that is why, from the POV an American or European doctrine, ours are no good but from an Indian doctrine, they do what they need to do as well as can be done.
You know what fk it,

Lets do it

Who does the VBSS ops depends on the complexity and scale. A VBSS party of any ship can't engage in a Hostage Situation or against decently armed guys.
It's not uncommon for naval sofs to be employed in it, since pirates attacking a civil ship turns into a hostage rescue mission in no time. Examples operation dawn of gulf of Aden (or something similar they named it)


What Regular units did was limited to cease fire violation in case of a crisis the first team to respond would have been the QRT and no one else.

Garuds are responsible for Casevac of Pilots and JTACesque stuff, SEAD etc etc. Base protection QRT was added after the attack on the airforce base in early 2000s.

Every operation you mentioned were preety large in their scope, How many men are involved in a single operation depends on mutitudes of factor. A hostage rescue operation in the North East in early 2010s only 4-5 SF guys were involved in it against 10-20 enemies. Or the operation Randhori Behak where 6 guys were involved.
And what's wrong with it? They aren't rambos sending only a single guy every operation.

In the IPKF what? If you are talking about Jafna heli drop it was mission to hunt Prabhakaran and the only unit apart from Para there was the Sikh Li(IIRC) at the moment.

Operation Cactus involved the 50th Para brigade the majority units were airborne+ one/two sf.

Operation Khukri was operation to save the units, so yeah they should have gone for the insurgents chief instead of saving the troops completely makes sense. Operation Barras was a similar operation done by SAS and the Para of UK it consisted of around 150 men.

Source for 9 battalions fighting in Kargil? AFAIk 9 para Cleared the zulu top, possible that others were kept at standby for any possible operation but it was a war going on what do you expect.


You have issues with QRT and support being on stand-by?

There were 6-7 targets in the op with 150, do the math it's 25 men per terrorist camp.

2020 raid which one? If it was a CBR then IIRC it was Ghatak not Para.

You operate in large teams you operate in small teams depending on the mission, probably thats too hard to digest i guess.
 

EternalNxg

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Uncle Sam got a taste of what it was like sending teams of 6, 12 or 24 on high scale ops in 2017 in Niger out of all countries, that's why when they nailed Baghdadi a team of 100 Operators from both 75th and 1-SFOD-D were sent in. Constructive criticism is one thing, this is just petty and pathetic delusion.
 

abingdonboy

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Even after doing countless cross training with foreign SFs they are selecting X-95s then there is either some serious shitty selection procedure or they are comfortable with the bullpup series .
Btw X-95s have only the length of SBRs
The whole thing is incredibly sketchy. Do we remember seeing an RFI/RFP for these rifles? For almost every nut and bolt the Indian military has to do long winded open tenders involving multiple vendors, somehow here these things major appear.

the ones buying them don’t care what they actually do or how they perform
 

abingdonboy

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Rape and body mutilation just does not feel ok to me. I feel o expect more from our armed forces, i amy be naive for this but i just want to feel better and superior than the enemy.
Women should never be involved, in 99% of instances they are unwitting victims of those scum. Rape is not a tool or weapon, it’s barbarism plain and simple and indicative of an undisciplined and disturbed individual . Any unit that sees this goes on should have the honour to ‘deal’ with the individuals appropriately
 

abingdonboy

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Operation Cactus, and its not our fault that the enemies are just at our borders, Most of the raids of NATO SOF did was well within their own Artillery range. You play on your strengths and conditions. No white indian team would be conducting operations on the European or American soil just to show dick and say we got big one too. Snatch and Grab operations are conducted by RAW and sometimes police ATS teams on foreign soil as they deem fit. And it has been showcased prior that the capability was there but lacked the will. The MeA and PMO take things diplomatically still since we rarely are the direct target say somewhere in Middle East for example. Tho this has been a bit and miss few times
Op cactus was an airborne op, hardly a SF mission. The nodal unit was 50th airborne( independent) brigade of which a few SF battalions are attached- against indicating that India has never really understood wtf SFs are
 

abingdonboy

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What’s your preferred rifle for SOF?
It’s not really my area of expertise, I guess the top top units these days are using the SIG MCX (gold guns) and Mk18s? I guess that’s too gucci for india, some M4s with SOPMOD block 2 features (basically anything from late 00s onward ) would be a decent enough standard issue

but small arms aren’t something I’m that up to date on @Gessler dreams this stuff
 

Kumaoni

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It’s not really my area of expertise, I guess the top top units these days are using the SIG MCX (gold guns) and Mk18s? I guess that’s too gucci for india, some M4s with SOPMOD block 2 features (basically anything from late 00s onward ) would be a decent enough standard issue

but small arms aren’t something I’m that up to date on @Gessler dreams this stuff
M4s are sexy as hell ngl
 

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