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This article is organised as follows:

  • Part 01: Introduction to the Garud Commando Force.
  • Part 02: Hierarchy of Indian Air Force SOF.
  • Part 03: Organisation of Indian Air Force SOF.
  • Part 04: Recruitment, Selection and Training of Garud.
  • Part 05: Training Establishments.
  • Part 06: Miscellaneous.

1.0      Introduction

“Offence is the best form of Defence”

This article is about the Indian Air Force’s Special Forces (IAF SF) known as the Garud Commando Force, Garud Force, IAF Garud, or simply as Garud.

Garud (1)For the purposes of this article the Garud Commando Force will be termed Garud; the unit derives its name from Garuda, a divine bird-like creature of Hindu Mythology.

Established in 2003, the Air Commandos of Garud are one of the newest Special Operations Forces (SOF) units within the Indian Armed Forces, and specifically the youngest SF unit. Garud was established with the intention of providing a versatile military capability specific to the requirements of the IAF. Garud

Garud was established and trained on the lines of the Indian Army’s Para (SF) and the Indian Navy’s Marine Commando Force (MARCOS), to which it is broadly comparable, and numbers approximately 1,200 personnel (Bedi, 2015).

They have a diverse portfolio of tasks, from acting as a rapid response to a terror strike on an airbase to conducting missions behind enemy lines in support of wartime operations. Although, at the time of writing, Garud had yet to see any major action/combat operations, it has been pro-active in guarding IAF assets and assisting paramilitary forces in anti-Naxal operations as well as gaining operational experience with Indian Army SF units.

Garud is now a regular feature of exercises such as Iron Fist and Live Wire.

From boot camp to fully qualified and operational, a Garud candidate may undertake up to three years of training.

Unlike the US, UK and French models of SOF, Indian SOF is not unified under one organisation or command. Operational control of each SF unit is by the Chief of Service, for example the Chief of the Air Staff.

This article will provide the reader with an outline of the Indian Air Force’s SOF, providing a brief history and their role and purpose. It will then provide an overview of the hierarchy and organisation of Indian Army SOF before moving on to outline the selection and training process. Finally, the article will discuss some of the training establishments which deliver training to Indian Army SOF candidates before providing some useful links, publications and references.

1.1     Brief History of Indian Air Force SOF

Garud (3)After attempts were made by terrorists to attack two major air bases in Jammu and Kashmir in 2001, IAF senior commanders contemplated the need for a specialised force to protect these critical elements and to have a dedicated Commando force trained in SF, combat search and rescue, reconnaissance, counter-insurgency operations and emergency in response to terror-threats to airfields.

The first plan in October 2002 was to establish a specialised force, with 2000 Commandos, originally to be known as Tiger Force but later renamed the Garud Force.

Prior to 2004, the Indian Army SF provided the IAF with SF units to fulfil some of these special tasks, but the units were always subject to being posted out on rotation to other areas as per the Indian Army’s requirements.

It was felt that the specialised training the IAF would have provided such units would have to be repeated, again and again, for the replacement units. So, to address the need for a dedicated force, the Government of India authorised a 1,080-strong force to be raised in September 2003 (although Chandramohan (2013) suggests 1,090) and trained on the lines of the Para (SF) of the Indian Army and Marine Commando Force (MARCOS) of the Indian Navy with the mandate of performing niche, IAF specific operational tasks.

Soon after, the first batch of 100 volunteer Airmen from the No.1 Airmen Training Centre in Belgaum, Karnataka, were earmarked to undergo Garud Training at Gurgaon. Not all would make it through the rigorous training with only 62 graduating on 06 February 2004.

Garud personnel were first seen publicly during the Air Force Day celebrations at New Delhi on 08 October 2004.

Garud have been deployed to Congo as a part of the United Nations peace keeping contingent (Chandramohan, 2013), as well as operating alongside the Indian Army’s SF in Jammu and Kashmir; providing Garud with much-needed combat and operational exposure. Towards this purpose, Garud personnel are attached to Indian Army SF units.

1.2     General Duties of Special Operations Forces

SOF personnel are required to infiltrate and exfiltrate to and from operational areas dismounted, carrying heavy loads and manipulating personal and support weapons systems and other heavy equipment. SOF personnel perform insertions and assaults on targets by:

  • Parachuting onto ground or into water;
  • Climbing ladders and cliffs;
  • Rappelling;
  • Conducting close-quarters battle (CQB); and
  • Battle drills in varying types of terrain and climatic conditions day or night.

SOF personnel are also required to board ocean vessels while they are underway from another floating or airborne platform in all sea states day or night, and where speed and stealth are imperative. These duties are performed while wearing heavy rucksack and body armour. SOF personnel perform individual CQB and detainee handling which may require the individual to:

  • Combat and detain another person using blocking strikes;
  • Disarming;
  • Lifting;
  • Pulling;
  • Ground fighting;
  • Grappling; and
  • Moving a non-compliant person.

There is no tolerance for a lapse in attention when conducting CQB and other assaults while wearing night vision goggles as well as Special Operations Insertion and Extraction (SOIE) techniques. Accurate discrimination of non-combatants and precision engagement of enemy combatants requires extreme concentration.

Similarly, high-risk roped and un-roped insertions with no redundant safety systems require constant attention. SOF personnel require the ability for continuous analysis of the situation, environment, mission aims and unique foreign societal complexities during operations.

1.3     Role and Purpose of Indian Air Force SOF

Despite conducting missions specific to the IAF, the role of Garud is diverse and includes both peacetime and wartime activities. Missions likely to be conducted include:

  • Counter-terrorism: Acting as an emergency response team in case of a terrorist attack;
  • Anti-hijacking and hostage rescue;
  • Civil aid during natural disasters;
  • Undertaking combat search and rescue missions;
  • Special reconnaissance;
  • Air Assault (e.g. suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD) and airfield seizure);
  • Any other missions in support of air operations.

The Bharat Rakshak website (2006) states “Contrary to popular perception, Garuds are not an airfield and key assets protection force as its made to believe. The security of vital IAF installations like radars, airfields and other establishments in border areas is usually under the care of the Air Force Police and the Defence Security Corps.”

However, this is contradicted by Sinha and Balakrishnan (2016, p.4) who state “The Garud Force is involved in Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), protecting air bases and other vital air force infrastructure, among other duties. As protection of air bases is not a task for SOF, role definition in their case needs reassessment.”

Rehman (2015) elucidates another task of Garud” “Units such as the Indian Air Force’s Garud commandoes will need to focus more on joint operations, and on augmenting their number of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) in order to more closely coordinate standoff air and missile strikes with Army SOF on the ground.”

2.0     Hierarchy of Indian Air Force SOF

This section provides an outline of the civilian and military personalities and organisations that have some form of control, impact or direction over the Indian Air Force’s SOF.

2.1     Ministry of Defence

The Defence Minister, or Raksha Mantri, is the head of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) which is comprised of four Departments and one division:

  • Department of Defence (DOD);
  • Department of Defence Production (DDP);
  • Department of Defence Research & Development (DDR&D);
  • Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare; and
  • Finance Division.

The Defence Secretary functions as head of the DOD and is additionally responsible for co-ordinating the activities of the four Departments in the MOD. The DOD deals with the Integrated Defence Staff, the three branches of military service and various inter-service organisations. It is also responsible for the Defence Budget, establishment matters, defence policy, matters relating to Parliament, defence co-operation with foreign countries and co-ordination of all defence related activities.

2.2     Integrated Defence Staff

As noted in the introduction, Indian SOF is not overseen by a central organisation, however, by 2013, the Integrated Defence Staff had established a directorate, which administers the Amphibious and Special Forces but has no operational command (Chandramohan, 2013).

The post of Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), an OF-8 level officer, was established on 01 October 2001. The HQ, located in New Delhi, was established on 23 November 2001 (IDS, n.d.).

The HQ IDS is staffed by military personnel (both commissioned officers and other ranks) from the three Services, the Ministry of External Affairs/Indian Foreign Service, Defence Finance/Defence Accounts Department, DOD and the DDR&D.

Some of the directorate’s functions include:

  • Co-ordinating with Services HQ to formulate a joint doctrine for Amphibious and Special Forces;
  • Co-ordinating with Services HQ to formulate training policy, including training in the Special Forces Doctrine;
  • Co-ordination of activities relating to training and doctrine for Amphibious and Special Forces with all outside agencies;
  • The establishment of amphibious cells.

2.3     Directorate of Amphibious and Special Forces

The Directorate of Amphibious and Special Forces (AMPH SF) is led by the Deputy Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (DACIDS AMPH SF), an OF-?5 level officer (IDS, n.d.; Chandramohan, 2013).

DACIDS AMPH SF reports to the Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Doctrine, Organisation and Training) (ACIDS (DOT)), an OF-?6 level officer, who reports to the Deputy IDS (DOT), an OF-?7 level officer. DOT is one of eight major branches of IDS.

2.4     Air Officer-in-Charge Personnel

The Air Officer-in-Charge Personnel (AOP), an Air Marshal (OF-8), is one of several Principal Staff Officers (PSO) reporting to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), an Air Chief Marshal (OF-9).

The AOP is responsible for the recruitment, training & posting of IAF personnel and is assisted by several staff officers, including:

  • Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO): Responsible for all operational and training activities.
  • Director of Personnel Planning (Dir PP).
  • Assistant Chief of Air (Training) (ACAS (TRG)): Advises AOP on ab-initio training matters & in-service courses at TIs and TEs under Training Command.
  • Professional Development Training (Flying) (PD TRG (F)): Advises ACAS (TRG) on all matters of policy concerning IAF, ab-initio aircrew training. Training of foreigners in India and training of AF Personnel abroad for ab-initio flying training.
  • Professional Development Training (Ground) (PD TRG (G)): Advises ACAS (TRG) on all matters of policy concerning IAF, ab-initio ground training.
  • ACAS (PA&C): responsible for Directorate of Personnel Airmen and the Central Airmen Selection Board.

2.5     Indian Air Force Training Command

Training, Shelter LessonHeadquarters (HQ) Training Command, located in Bangalore, is commanded by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), an Air Marshal (OF-8) (SP Aviation, 2015; Mathrubhumi, 2016). The Training Command is one of seven commands of the IAF.

“Today, the Command is responsible for conducting ab-initio training of all officers, airmen and non-combatants (enrolled) of all branches, except officers of medical branch.” (Mathrubhumi, 2016).

IAF training can trace its lineage back to the Second World War. As part of self-sufficiency and expansion of the IAF, it was decided to establish a Directorate of Training within the then Air headquarters (HQ). At approximately the same time, a Recruits Training Centre and non-technical training centre were established at Lahore, and No.1 Technical School at Ambala. This system continued until the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.

The training establishments were divided based on the international boundary, however, since training was ongoing at the time, it was decided that until such time the current courses were completed joint training would continue. The joint training ceased by the end of October 1947, when the trainees and staff joined their opted country (this is the only example I am aware of, of two countries at war conducting training for opposing personnel on the same course).

On 15 August 1947, the Indian Air Force Training Establishments located in India were:

  • Initial Training Wing, Coimbatore, established on 11 July 1946.
  • Elementary Flying Training School, Jodhpur, established on July 1942.
  • Advanced Flying Training School, Ambala, established in July 1941.
  • No.1 Ground Training School, Jalahalli, established in July 1947.
  • No.2 Ground Training School, Tamabaram, established in February 1947.

As I understand it, No.2 (Indian) Group RAF located at Bangalore, led by an Air Commodore (OF-6), was retitled No.2 (Training) Group RAF on 15 September 1947.

2.6     Commander Garud

The Commander Garud is a Wing Commander (OF-4).

3.0     Organisation of Indian Air Force SF

As well as the traditional leadership and staff officer roles identified above, Garud has personnel in enabler roles and personnel from the wider-IAF act in supporter and other roles (e.g. administrative and logistical).

Although Garud was authorised to raise an initial force of 1,080 personnel, the plan was to progress to a total force of 2,000 personnel. Garud is organised into fifteen Flights, broadly comparable to an Infantry Company, each headed by a Flight Lieutenant (OF-2).

However, in the aftermath of the Pathankot Terror Attack, it was reported that the IAF had decided to raise ten additional squadrons of Garud commandos, approximately 700 personnel (India.com, 2016) or 1,000 personnel (Economic Times, 2016). Indian Defence News (2016) reported “The Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to double the number of commandos and induct 50 plus units consisting of 40 men each in the force.”

On 02 January 2016, a heavily armed group attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command. A total of six attackers and seven IAF personnel were killed. Although Garud personnel took part in the operation, a narrative presented by Singh (2016) would suggest that National Security Guard personnel took the lead.

Gaining accurate figures regarding the total number of personnel within Garud is somewhat problematic, as noted below:

  • “…formed its first Garud unit in 2005 with 60 commandos. It has been progressively growing since then.” (thehindu.com, 2008).
  • Garud numbers approximately 1,500 personnel (CLAWS Research Team, 2011).
  • Garud numbers approximately 1,090 personnel (Chandramohan, 2013).
  • Garud numbers approximately 1,200 personnel (Bedi, 2015).
  • Garud numbers approximately 1,080 personnel (India.com, 2016).

4.0     Recruitment, Selection and Training

US Army Special Forces, Green Beret (7)This section provides an outline of the selection and training process that all candidates for Garud must undertake.

Unlike their Indian Army and Navy counterparts, candidates for Garud are only selected from volunteers through initial-entry recruitment (i.e. civilians). Candidates found suitable for Garud are put through an intense process of mental and physical training. Candidates have only one chance to become a Garud trainee but, once they have achieved the required standards and completed training, they become a permanent member of the force and are retained within this career stream for the duration of their military service.

Although Garud training is 72 weeks in duration, and therefore technically the longest Indian SOF training, 12 weeks of this is Phase 1 basic military training (i.e. converting civilians into partly trained soldiers).

Candidates will generally go through five phases to become a fully-qualified Garud Operator, which includes:

  • Phase 1: Recruitment and Pre-Selection.
  • Phase 2: Selection
  • Phase 3: Phase 1 basic military training (known as Joint Basic Phase Training).
  • Phase 4: Basic SF training
  • Phase 5: Advanced SF Training.

From boot camp to fully qualified and operational, a Garud candidate may undertake up to three years of training.

Candidates may also obtain credit towards a bachelor’s degree as part of their training (Digital Learning, 2011).

“IGNOU has entered into a collaboration venture with Indian Air Force and signed MoU to enable airmen to achieve graduate status in service within 8-13 years of their service… [and] The IAF-IGNOU Community Colleges that are identified and registered under this collaboration are the […] Garud Regimental Training Centre, Chandinagar, U.P. [and] Basic Training Institute…”

4.1     Recruitment and Pre-Selection

Appraisal (6), Success, FailureApplication for Garud is made by male volunteers wishing to join the Indian Air Force. Volunteers can be either commissioned officers or enlisted soldiers.

Recruitment to Garud is conducted, via advertisements, through initial-entry recruitment at Airmen Selection Centres (ASC) located across India.

Candidates applying for Garud will be employed in the Group Y (Non-Technical) Trades as an IAF (Security) tradesman (IAF, 2017a). Commissioned Officers are selected from the Officer Cadets of the Ground Duty branch at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal.

General recruitment and pre-selection criteria include (IAF, 2017b):

  • Indian citizen.
  • Education:
    • Passed Intermediate/10+2/equivalent examination in any stream/subjects approved by Central/State Education Boards with minimum 50% marks in aggregate and 50% marks in English; OR
    • Passed two-year vocational course affiliated/recognised by CBSE/State Education Boards/Councils duly recognised at par with 10+2 by AIU with minimum 50% marks in aggregate, and 50% marks in English in Vocational Course or in Intermediate/Matriculation if English is not a subject in Vocational Course.
  • Age:
    • Minimum age of 17 year.
    • The upper age limit on date of enrolment is 21 years.
  • Meet the current medical standards including:
    • Visual acuity: Unaided Visual acuity of 6/6.
    • Colour vision: CP-II.
    • Height: 172 cm (162 cm for North East & Hill stats).
    • Leg length: not applicable.

Candidates who successfully complete the pre-selection process will start the selection process with the IAF.

4.2     Selection

Appraisal (12)As part of the selection process for joining the IAF, Other Ranks (OR) candidates will be required to successfully complete several tests/assessments, over two/three days, which include:

  • Written Test: Results given same day;
  • Adaptability Test – I (AT-I): Administered to all candidates who pass the written test. The purpose is to assess suitability of a candidate for employment in the IAF which involves deployment in varied geographic terrain, weather and operational conditions.
  • Physical Fitness Test (PFT): The PFT for Group Y IAF (Security) trade is of a higher standard than other IAF trades and consists of:
    • 1 mile (1.6 Km) run to be completed in a maximum of 5 minutes and 40 seconds.
    • Candidates who qualify in the run will advance to the following tests.
    • 8 heaves (chin ups), 20 press-ups (push-ups) and 20 bent knee sit-ups to be completed within stipulated time to qualify in the PFT.
  • AT-II: All candidates who pass the PFT must undergo AT-II. The aim of the test is to select candidates who can adapt to the environment of the IAF and can adjust to the military way of life.
  • Medical Examination: Candidates who qualify AT-II will be medically examined. Medical examination will be conducted by the Air Force Medical Team as per IAF medical standards and existing policy.
  • All India Select List (AISL): Inclusion of a candidate’s name in the AISL depends upon performance and it does not guarantee automatic enrolment. Enrolment is strictly in order of merit in the AISL and subject to medical fitness, availability of vacancies, not exceeding the age as mentioned in the advertisement on date of enrolment and meeting other laid down eligibility criteria as and when called for enrolment. The validity of AISL will be 12 months from the date of display.

Officer candidates undergo a slightly longer process, lasting six days, but the basic principles of both the officer and OR selection processes remain the same (IAF, 2016).

In December 2016, 215 candidates where listed on the AISL for the Group Y IAF (Security) trade.

Any candidate who is not selected will be released from the IAF, although some may be accepted into other branches of the IAF.

4.3     Basic Military Training

Iraq 2005All Garud candidates will undertake, along with all other trades, the 12-week Joint Basic Phase Training (JBPT) delivered by the Basic Training Institute (BTI) (Section 5.2), located at Sambra (IAF, 2015).

Training during this phase includes:

  • A diagnostic test (DT) & trade allocation test (TAT) for the candidate’s trade allocation, which is usually conducted during the 2nd week of training;
  • General service training (drill, endurance training, physical training and games, field craft, small arms and other related topics);
  • General service knowledge (information regarding IAF, history of IAF, Air Force Law and Air Force Regulations, general aspects of health and hygiene, and Airman Like Qualities (ALQ));
  • English and Hindi language training; and
  • Basic computer training.

Candidates will be required to successfully complete a mid-term and a final examination to graduate from JBPT.

Those candidates who successfully graduate JBPT will move on to basic SF training and subsequently (if successful) advanced SF training.

4.4     SF Training

US Army Special Forces, Green Beret (8)This phase starts with a three-month probationary training period (unsure if this probation starts with JBPT or after) which acts as a filter – subsequently resulting in a high attrition rate – and is conducted at the Garud Regimental Training Centre (GRTC) (Section 5.3) located in Hindon, Ghaziabad near New Delhi.

Candidates who successfully complete their probation period will move on to further SF training which, although overseen by the GRTC, is delivered by a variety of Indian SOF organisations.

  • Weapons handling training;
  • Land navigation and field craft training;
  • Infiltration, assault and ambush tactics;
  • Close quarter battle (CQB) training;
  • Urban warfare;
  • Counter-terrorism;
  • Unarmed combat training.
  • Junior Leaders’ Commando Training Camp in Belgaum, Karnataka;
    4-week High-Altitude Commando Course at the Parvat Ghatak School (for high altitude mountain warfare) in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, along with other SF units;
  • Desert Warfare School in Rajasthan;
  • High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) in Sonamarg, Kashmir;
  • Basic Combat Divers course at the Indian Navy’s Dive School, located at Kochi.
  • Counter insurgency, at the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) in Vairengte, Mizoram;
  • Indian Special Forces Training School in Nahan, Himachal Pradesh; and/or
  • Combat free-fall training (HAHO and HALO) at the Parachute Training School, located at Agra.

It is believed that the final phase of training is active operations with a secondment to SF units of the Indian Army, with the aim of providing Garud personnel with operational experience.

4.5     Parachute Training

As part of the training programme, candidates are required to attend the 3-week Basic Parachute Course (BPC) at the Parachute Training School, located at Agra.

Five static line jumps at 1250 feet, including one at night, entitle candidates to wear the coveted parachute wings on the right chest and the maroon beret, with the parachute badge attached to it.

4.6     Graduation

Of the 100 candidates who started Garud training during the first course, 62 graduated giving a pass rate of 62%. However, there is no publicly available data on the selection process used for the original 100 candidates.

As there are currently no figures regarding the overall attrition for Garud training, but knowing the attrition rate of other Indian SOF, it is not unreasonable to assume a graduation rate of 10% to 20%.

Given an ASIL selection rate of 215 candidates (Section 4.2), this would mean approximately 21 to 42 candidates ‘surviving’ to become a fully-qualified Garud Operator.

On graduation, both commissioned officers and other ranks become permanent members of Garud. As I understand it, officers remain with Garud until reaching the rank of Squadron Leader (OF-3), at which point they can be appointed to wider-IAF and joint staff officer roles.

5.0     Training Establishments

There are several training establishments involved in the delivery of training to candidates during their basic military training and SF training. Some of these training establishments are outlined below.

5.1     Indian Air Force Training Command

Headquarters (HQ) Training Command, located in Bangalore, is commanded by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), an Air Marshal (OF-8) (SP Aviation, 2015; Mathrubhumi, 2016). The Training Command is one of seven commands of the IAF.

“Today, the Command is responsible for conducting ab-initio training of all officers, airmen and non-combatants (enrolled) of all branches, except officers of medical branch.” (Mathrubhumi, 2016).

IAF training can trace its lineage back to the Second World War. As part of self-sufficiency and expansion of the IAF, it was decided to establish a Directorate of Training within the then Air headquarters (HQ). At approximately the same time, a Recruits Training Centre and non-technical training centre were established at Lahore, and No.1 Technical School at Ambala. This system continued until the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.

The training establishments were divided based on the international boundary, however, since training was ongoing at the time, it was decided that until such time the current courses were completed joint training would continue. The joint training ceased by the end of October 1947, when the trainees and staff joined their opted country (this is the only example I am aware of, of two countries at war conducting training for opposing personnel on the same course).

On 15 August 1947, the Indian Air Force Training Establishments located in India were:

  • Initial Training Wing, Coimbatore, established on 11 July 1946.
  • Elementary Flying Training School, Jodhpur, established on July 1942.
  • Advanced Flying Training School, Ambala, established in July 1941.
  • No.1 Ground Training School, Jalahalli, established in July 1947.
  • No.2 Ground Training School, Tamabaram, established in February 1947.

As I understand it, No.2 (Indian) Group RAF located at Bangalore, led by an Air Commodore (OF-6), was retitled No.2 (Training) Group RAF on 15 September 1947.

5.2     Basic Training Institute

The Basic Training Institute (BTI), located at Belgaum, is headed by the Chief Instructor, a Wing Commander (OF-4) (Mohan, 2016).

The BTI, also known as the Airmen Training School (ATS), provides Joint Basic Phase Training (JBPT) for all Airman trades of the IAF, with recruits being trained in one of five squadrons:

  • Katre;
  • Lal;
  • Latif;
  • Majumdar; and
  • Mehar.

All ab-initio Airmen recruits undergo 12 weeks (formerly 24 weeks) of JBPT which aims to inculcate service ethos, value system and military bearing amongst the recruits through general service training and general service knowledge, as discussed in Section 4.3.

BTI typically conducts four JBPT courses per year, training approximately 8,800 personnel every year (Mohan, 2016).

On successful completion of their JBPT candidates will then commence their trade training at one of the trade training institutes, this being the Garud Regimental Training Centre for Garud candidates.

5.3     Garud Regimental Training Centre

Air Force Station Hindon (AFS Hindon) is in Uttar Pradesh on the outskirts of Delhi, and is par IAF’s Western Air Command (WAC). It is reportedly the largest air base in Asia, and 8th in the world, measuring approximately 21 square miles (55 square km).

The base is home to the Garud Regimental Training Centre as well as several aircraft squadrons as part of 28 Wing.

5.4     Indian Navy Diving School

For combat diving training, personnel are sent to the Naval Diving School, part of INS Venduruthy in Kochi, which is part of the Southern Naval Command (SNC).

The diving school delivers basic and specialist training in military diving for both officers and sailors of the Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and paramilitary forces.

Divers are divided into two broad categories:

  • Ships divers: undergo a basic course of 8 weeks using only compressed air sets and acquire a basic knowledge of diving.
  • Clearance divers (CD): undergo a longer course using pure oxygen, mixture and compressed air sets. They are also qualified in operating compression chambers, underwater demolition, clandestine operations and underwater salvage techniques.

During the 2009-2010 training year, the training curriculum was revised so all students (both CD and MARCOS) would pass out as CD (MARCOS) (Indian Navy, 2017).

5.5     High-Altitude Warfare School

Candidates will attend the 4-week High Altitude Commando Course at the High-Altitude Warfare School (HAWS), along with other Indian SF units.

Operating from three different locations in Kashmir, the HAWS conducts (Hooda, 2016):

  • Winter warfare course at HAWS Gulmarg which is situated close 9,000 feet above sea level and is where military personnel learn to survive and fight in the world’s highest battleground at 20,000 feet. The first week of training entails a march of 1.5 km with a small load, but quickly progresses from 5, 10 and 15 kg after two weeks to traversing on skis carrying 15 kg and a weapon in hand. Students must complete a one-week exercise, with 72 hours with nothing but the survival skills they have learnt. The course is delivered between January and April each year and has an attrition rate of 30% to 40%.
  • Mountain warfare course at HAWS Sonamarg, delivered between May and October each year.
  • Ice craft at HAWS Machoi across Zojila.

5.6     Desert Warfare School

The Desert Warfare School is located in Rajasthan.

6.0     Miscellaneous

6.1     Useful Links

  • Integrated Defence Staff, India: http://ids.nic.in/.
  • Ministry of Defence, India: http://mod.nic.in/.
  • President’s Body Guard (PBG): http://presidentofindia.nic.in/president-bodyguard.htm.
  • Indian Army:
    • Official: http://indianarmy.nic.in/index.aspx.
    • Counterinsurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS): https://www.facebook.com/CIJWS/.
    • Para Commandos: https://www.facebook.com/Indianparasf/.
    • Parachute Regiment Training Centre (PRTC): http://www.indianparachuteregiment.kar.nic.in/home.html.
    • Army Training Command (ARTRAC): http://www.indianarmy.nic.in/Site/FormTemplete/frmTempSimple.aspx?MnId=Fqb7Jrhws56P2Wy+MfYa4g==&ParentID=aPjknQrvhPMr72wEmOdzJw==&flag=b6cGeW3iC5HLeW+8LtZqZw==.
    • Parachute Regiment (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/pararegt.in/.
    • Territorial Army: http://www.territorialarmy.in/.
  • Indian Navy:
    • Official Website: https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/.
    • Diving School: https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/node/5063.
    • INS Abhimanyu: https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/node/5059.
    • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefewthefearless/.
  • Indian Air Force:
    • Official Website: http://indianairforce.nic.in/.
    • Careers Website: http://careerairforce.nic.in/.
    • Central Airmen Selection Board: https://airmenselection.gov.in/OARS/oars/login.action.
    • Unofficial Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/GarudIAF/.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA): http://www.mha.nic.in/.
  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF): http://crpf.nic.in/.
  • COBRA: http://crpf.nic.in/cobra-sector.htm.
  • Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBF): http://itbpolice.nic.in/itbpwebsite/index.html.
  • National Security Guard (NSG): http://nsg.gov.in/.
  • Special Frontier Force (SFF):
  • Force One:
  • Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh Police:
  • Cabinet Secretariat: http://www.cabsec.nic.in/index.php.

6.2     Useful Publications

  • Katoch, P.C. & Datta, S. (2013) India’s Special Forces: History and Future of Special Forces. New Delhi: Vij Books India.
  • Summer, I. & Chappell, M. (2001) The Indian Army, 1914-1947. London: Osprey Publishing Ltd.
  • Sinha, D. & Balakrishnan, R. (2016) Employment of India’s Special Operations Forces. ORF Issue Brief, No.150. June 2016. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.orfonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ORF_IssueBrief_150_SinhaBalakrishnan.pdf. [Accessed: 26 January, 2017].
  • Katoch, P.C. (2011) Indian Special Forces: 2030. CLAWS Journal. Winter 2011, pp.33-40. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.claws.in/images/journals_doc/1395292151PC%20Katoch%20%20CJ%20Winter%202011.pdf. [Accessed: 26 January, 2017].
  • Chandramohan, B. (2013) The Indian Special Forces: An Evolving Approach. Strategic Analysis Paper. Available from World Wide Web: http://futuredirections.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/FDI_Strategic_Analysis_Paper_-_28_March_2013.pdf. [Accessed: 26 January, 2017].
  • Joint Doctrine for Special Forces Operations (JP-5), HQ IDS, 2008
  • Ensuring Secure Seas: Indian Maritime Security Strategy, Naval Strategic Publication (NSP) 1.2. Integrated HQ, MOD (Navy). October 2015.
  • Rinaldi, R.A. (2008) Indian Army Airborne/Special Forces Units. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.orbat.info/cimh/regiments/Indian%20Army%20AirborneSF.pdf. [Accessed: 03 February, 2017].

6.3     References

Bedi, R. (2015) India’s Special Forces Face an Identity Crisis. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/1/4067/INDIAS-SPECIAL-FORCES-FACE-AN-IDENTITY-CRISIS. [Accessed: 30 January, 2017].

Bharat Rakshak (2006) Garud. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/ARMY/units/85-Garud.html. [Accessed: 29 January, 2017].

Chandramohan, B. (2013) The Indian Special Forces: An Evolving Approach. Strategic Analysis Paper. Available from World Wide Web: http://futuredirections.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/FDI_Strategic_Analysis_Paper_-_28_March_2013.pdf. [Accessed: 26 January, 2017].

CLAWS Research Team (2011) Special Forces: De We Need a Unified Tri-Service Command? Scholar Warrior. Autumn 2011, pp.33-36. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.claws.in/images/journals_doc/1676494754_SpecialForceCLAWSResearchTeam.pdf. [Accessed: 15 December, 2016].

Digital Learning (2011) AKASHDEEP – Empowering Air Force Personnel through Knowledge. Available from World Wide Web: http://digitallearning.eletsonline.com/2011/01/akashdeep-empowering-air-force-personnel-through-knowledge-2/. [Accessed: 10 February, 2017].

Economic Times (2016) IAF Plans to Raise 10 more Garud Squadrons. Available from World Wide Web: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/iaf-plans-to-raise-10-more-garud-squadrons/articleshow/50825527.cms. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

Hooda, D. (2016) High Altitude Warfare School: Where Indian Jawans are Trained to Survive in Siachen. Available from World Wide Web: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/high-altitude-warfare-school-where-indian-jawans-are-trained-to-survive-in-siachen/articleshow/50968653.cms. [Accessed: 30 January, 2017].

IAF (Indian Air Force) (2015) Joining Instructions: Airmen Training School, Belgaum. Available from World Wide Web: http://indianairforce.nic.in/pdf/Joining_Instruction_AFS_Belgaum_Jun15.pdf. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

IAF (Indian Air Force) (2016) Selection Process. Available from World Wide Web: http://careerairforce.nic.in/index1.asp?lang=1&ls_id=62&lid=45&level=2&pid=6. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

IAF (Indian Air Force) (2017a) Indian Air Forces Airmen Trades and Duties. Available from World Wide Web: https://airmenselection.gov.in/OARS/iafAirmen/tradesAndDuties.jsp. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

IAF (Indian Air Force) (2017b) Indian Air Force Airmen Eligibility Information. Available from World Wide Web: https://airmenselection.gov.in/OARS/iafAirmen/eligibilityCriteria.jsp. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

IDS (Integrated Defence Staff) (n.d.) Role and Organisation. Available from World Wide Web: http://ids.nic.in/organisation.htm. [Accessed: 26 January, 2017].

India.com (2016) IAF to induct 700 more Garud Commandos. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.india.com/news/india/iaf-to-induct-700-more-garud-commandos-913343/. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

Indian Defence News (2016) IAF To Double Number of Special Forces Units. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.defencenews.in/article/IAF-To-Double-Number-Of-Special-Forces-Units-239684?utm_source=NotifyVisitors&utm_medium=browser_push_notification&utm_campaign=IAFToDoubleNumberOfSpecialForcesUnits. [Accessed: 10 February, 2017].

Indian Navy (2017) Diving School. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/content/diving-school. [Accessed: 30 January, 2017].

Mathrubhumi (2016) NCW capabilities as a concept are taught to trainees at Training Command: Air Marshal Nair. Available from World Wide Web: http://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/columns/talkathon/ncw-capabilities-as-a-concept-are-taught-to-trainees-at-training-command-air-marshal-nair-english-news-1.1411394. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

Mohan, R.D. (2016) Airmen Training School Sambra Belagavi. Available from World Wide Web: http://allaboutbelgaum.com/specials/airmen-training-school-sambra-belagavi/. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

Rehman, I. (2015) Recasting India’s Special Forces. Available from World Wide Web: https://casi.sas.upenn.edu/print/2197. [Accessed: 26 January, 2017].

Singh, V. (2016) The ‘Lost Opportunity’ in Pathankot. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/the-lost-opportunity-in-pathankot/article8206442.ece. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

Sinha, D. & Balakrishnan, R. (2016) Employment of India’s Special Operations Forces. ORF Issue Brief, No.150. June 2016. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.orfonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ORF_IssueBrief_150_SinhaBalakrishnan.pdf. [Accessed: 26 January, 2017].

SP Aviation (2015) Focus on the Man behind the Machine. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.sps-aviation.com/story/?id=1621. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

The Hindu (2008) IAF commandos display skills in U.S. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/IAF-commandos-display-skills-in-U.S./article15285887.ece. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

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