Friday, October 21, 2016

A visual guide to India's special operations capabilities

I think a lot of media folk are finding it hard to distinguish between the various groups of Indian special operators.

India (despite what you hear in the press) is still not rich enough to bring all its armed forces to very high levels of readiness and training. So the GoI decided to do this piecemeal. Where possible they raised special units with some immediate justification and then used the units to incubate a gradual improvement in the training and quality of the main force.  I think the scheme has paid off - to an extent - but the result is a massive proliferation of special forces. This making the landscape visually complicated.

One my pet peeves is when a local channel attempts to pass off footage of special forces people as something completely different. Recently a channel was showing some SOG people and then talking about them as if it was footage of actually Jihadis. That is not a good thing.

I hear that a somewhat related problem in the Op Rakshak Theater is IFF. There should be a color-of-the-day but that is quite risky so the alternative is to simply shoot first and ask questions later. Worst case you get chewed out by your CO for being trigger-happy - best case you immobilize a threat.

Anyway - here is a visual guide with some information.

1) SG/22/Mavericks - No uniform, facial camouflage, any weapon.[Ex. Maj. Sudhir Kumar, Maj. Amit Deswal, Maj. Udai Singh] - if you see a name against a photo of one of these people - it most likely implies they are dead. Their faces are seldom exposed, they perform a lot of undercover work. There are many sub-branches of this establishment (Ex. Vikas Regiment) very few have been photographed. I have even heard of Ladakh Scouts people being lumped with this establishment.

2) IA - SF in the valley - Maroon beret/patka, facial camouflage, Tavor or AK.[Ex. RR Cdo] Mainly provide high endurance interdiction of known Jihadi modules over adverse terrain.

3) Unified Command - SOG in the valley - Mixed fatigues, No Patka/Beret, face covered, AK variant [Ex. Pulwama SOG]. This organization used to  have two parts - the SOG and the STF. The STF component AFAIK is no longer active. Typically used for intelligence gathering and targeted operations.

4) "SG-I and SG-II" (Most likely under UC) - Fatigues, no head gear, AK variant. Limited to operations in the Pir Panjals. Comprised of Gujjars and other natives of the area - these units help interdict an arms supply channel from Pakistan. I have only seen one set of photos of these guys - it was circa 2003 and I'm not sure if these units are still on active status.

5)  JK-Ikhwan/National Security Organization (UC) - Shalwar kameez, beards, AK variants, (Ex. This Guy). Limited levels of active duty personnel. Most units disbanded.

6) IA - SF (Para) in the valley - Maroon beret, no facial camouflage, Tavor/AK variant. Deploy from ALH for AIOS security roles - exposed faces mean they are not assigned undercover roles.  [see here]

7) MHA-NSG (Phantom) - Black attire, conspicuous webbing, HRT gear, black balaclava masks. [Ex. This Guy] - primarily HRT roles. Usually a subset something called 51-SAG.

8) MHA-NSG (SRG) - Black dungarees, Black or Maroom Beret, usually with HKMP5 or MP5k variant. Typically assigned to VIP security. [See these people]

9) MHA-SPG - Usually seen around PMs and ex-PMs or family of ex-PMs. Hard to mistake for anything else [Here their Counter-Fire Team]

10) IN - MARCOS - Black attire, facial camouflage, scuba gear, rarely seen in public barring the occasional media spectacle. [See here]

11) IAF - Garud - Peculiar fatigues, Cloth hats, helmets, eyes covered and faces shaved. Seen at airbases and the odd security detail for senior IAF officers in a sensitive area [see here]

12) CRPF - Cobra - Jungle fatigues, cloth hats, helmets, faces exposed, Tavors [a typical image]. One typically sees these guys in the Maoist insurgency areas.

13) CISF Commandos - Mixed fatigues, cloth hats, peculiar balaclava with white stripes. AK variants some Tavors [see here]. Mostly seen on YouTube - supposedly trained to provide QRFs at critical installations.

14) "Ghatak/Commando" - Slightly better kitted versions of their peers mainly for serving HRM (High Risk Missions) and providing local QRFs. Closer to the F-INSAS standard promoted some years ago. Usually have a prominent personal comm-link on the left top. [see here]


Post a Comment

<< Home