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This article is organised as follows:

  • Part 01: Introduction to India’s Force One.
  • Part 02: Hierarchy of Force One.
  • Part 03: Organisation of Force One.
  • Part 04: Recruitment, Selection and Training of Force One.
  • Part 05: Training Establishments.
  • Part 06: Miscellaneous.

1.0     Introduction

This article is about the Indian Police Service (IPS) Commando unit known as Force One, which is “…an elite commando force [that] was set up on the lines of National Security Guards (NSG).” (The Indian Express, 2016).

This article will provide the reader with an outline of Force One, providing a brief history and their role and purpose. It will then provide an outline of the hierarchy and organisation of Force One before moving on to describe the selection and training process. Finally, the article will discuss some of the training establishment which deliver training to Force One candidates before providing some useful links, publications and references.

1.1     Brief History of Force One

Established in 2009, Force One are one of India’s newest SOF units. It forms part of the Maharashtra State Police Force and was “Created along the lines of Israel’s Mossad…” (NDTV, 2010) or “…modelled on Germany’s GSG 9 special forces…” (Ferreira-Marques & Busvine, 2015).

The unit was established as a direct result of the Mumbai attacks on 26 November 2008 and consequently the sole purpose of Force One is to protect the Mumbai Metropolitan Area when under threat.

Of the 3000+ applications received to join the new force, only 500 were accepted for training (Menon, 2016) and 216 graduated after six months of training (Press Trust of India, 2009; Menon, 2016).

Since its inception there have been issues surrounding training facilities, accommodation, equipment shortages (NDTV, 2010; Bhatia, 2014) and leadership changes (Sharma, 2016); although some of these issues had been resolved by 2016!

The unit has been used in a number of operations, both actively and on standby (Das, 2016; Shaikh, 2017).

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 Force One

The core mission of Force One is counter-terrorism in the state of Maharashtra, in particular to guard the Mumbai metropolitan area, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.

“In the government resolution pertaining to ‘Force One’ formulation, it was specified this force should be used only for fighting terrorism in the state and not for any other activities, unlike NSG which is also being used for the security of VIPs and politicians.” (The Indian Express, 2016).

“There are 39 assault teams, one in each division equipped with AK-47s, 9mm carbines and other equipment, which will be the first to respond to a terror attack. The QRTs will be the second line of response with their sophisticated arms. Mumbai alone has about 1,500 trained personnel. Force One will come in next.” (Menon, 2016).

2.0     Hierarchy of Force One

This section provides an outline of the civilian and military personalities and organisations that have some form of control, impact, direction over Force One.

Force One has witnessed a number of leadership and supervisory changes since its inception which Sharma (2016) records in some detail.

2.1     Maharashtra State Police

Force One is part of the Maharashtra State Police which is led by the Director General of Police (DGP) (Maharashtra State Police, 2017).

2.2     Anti-Terrorism Squad

Initially, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) was led by an Inspector General (IG) of Police but was later uprated to Additional Director General (ADG) of Police (Maharashtra State Police, 2017).

Established in 2004, the role of ATS is to counter terrorism by collecting and collating information regarding anti-national elements operating with the state of Maharashtra.

ATS works in conjunction with India’s intelligence agencies, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), as well as counter-terrorism agencies in other states.

2.3     Police Special Operations

Initially, Force One was supervised by the Director General of Police (DGP) Special Operations (Spl Ops). DGP Spl Ops was, at the time, also heading the Anti-Naxal Operations Department and the ATS (Sharma, 2016).

Special Operations is now led by the Additional Director General of Police (Special Operations) (Maharashtra State Police, 2017).

2.4     Commander Force One

“Since its inception in 2009, the supervisory authority of Force One has changed four times, with the latest just a few months ago. The combat agency now reports to Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad. A day before inauguration of Force One’s permanent base on September 1, the agency got its new head.” (Sharma, 2016).

Initially, Force One was led by a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police but was later uprated to IG of Police (Ferreira-Marques & Busvine, 2015).

There are a number of key personalities who assist the Commander Force One in their duties, including (Maharashtra State Police, 2017):

  • Special Inspector of Police, Force One;
  • Superintendent of Police, Force One;
  • Superintendent of Police, Force One (Urban Counter Training Academy); and
  • Additional Superintendent of Police, Force One (Urban Counter Training Academy).

3.0     Organisation of Force One

As well as the traditional leadership and staff officer roles identified above, Force One contain personnel in enabler, supporter and other roles (e.g. administrative and logistical).

In 2010, NDTV (an Indian news channel) reported that Force One had an establishment of 300 Commando personnel (NDTV, 2010). Ferreira-Marques & Busvine (2015) suggest Force One is “…600-strong…”

The first batch of Force One Commandos were divided into three groups: standby, training and rest (Press Trust of India, 2009).

4.0     Selection and Training

No information available.

4.1     Pre-Selection

No information available.

4.2     Selection

No information available.

4.3     Force One Basic Training

The Force One Commandos receive training in the use of sophisticated arms and explosives from a variety of training establishments, lasting approximately six months, including (Press Trust of India, 2009; Menon, 2016):

  • The Maharashtra Intelligence Academy;
  • The College of Military Engineering, located in Pune; and
  • The High Energy Materials Research Laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

“Trained on the lines of the National Security Guard (NSG), they need only three seconds to draw out a revolver, cock it and fire six bullets.” (Menon, 2016).

4.4     Force One Advanced Training

No information available.

4.5     Graduation

No information available.

5.0     Training Establishments

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

5.1     Force One Training Centre

The Force One Training Centre is located on a 26,320-square metre campus in Goregaon East. The campus includes a specialised training centre, a hostel which accommodate 140 personnel and a 100 metre long firing range (The Hindu, 2016; The Indian Express, 2016).

Built by the Maharashtra Police Welfare and Housing Corporation (MPWHC), the campus was inaugurated on Thursday 01 September 2016 by the then Chief Minister (The Hindu, 2016; The Indian Express, 2016).

6.0     Miscellaneous

6.1     Useful Links

6.2     Useful Publications

6.3     References

Bhatia, R. (2104) India’s National Security Policies and the Threat of Lashkar-e-Taiba: A Forgotten Concern. Available from World Wide Web: http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/india%E2%80%99s-national-security-policies-and-the-threat-of-lashkar-e-taiba-a-forgotten-concern. [Accessed: 08 February, 2017].

Das, B.K. (2016) Navi Mumbai: Indian Navy Ends Search Operation, Maintains High State of Alert. Available from World Wide Web: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/navi-mumbai-terror-suspects-sketches-released-mumbai-on-high-alert-schools-colleges-in-uran-shut/1/771437.html. [Accessed: 17 March, 2017].

Express News Service (2012) City Police Force Sees Another Rejig within a Week. Available from World Wide Web: http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/city-police-force-sees-another-rejig-within-a-week/995656/. [Accessed: 17 March, 2017].

Ferreira-Marques, C. & Busvine, D. (2015) Mock Attacks in Mumbai a Reminder of India’s Vulnerability to Terrorism. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/ihSBvPGju081xxpHSLq6DL/Mock-attacks-in-Mumbai-a-reminder-of-Indias-vulnerability-t.html. [Accessed: 17 March, 2017].

Maharashtra State Police (2017) (Desk 1) Quarterly List of Officers of the Indian Police Service and State Police Service as on 22nd February, -2017. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.mahapolice.gov.in/mahapolice/jsp/temp/html/ips_2015.pdf. [Accessed: 17 March, 2017].

NDTV (New Delhi Television) (2010) No Force in Force One? Available from World Wide Web: http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/26-11-no-force-in-force-one-440269. [Accessed: 17 March, 2017].

Press Trust of India (2009) Maha’s Elite Counter Terror Unit Force One Becomes Operational. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/maha-s-elite-counter-terror-unit-force-one-becomes-operational-109112500047_1.html. [Accessed: 17 March, 2017].

Shaikh, F. (2017) Mumbai Police to Tighten Security for Holi. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/mumbai-police-to-tighten-security-for-holi/story-ynBrpzZTh0z3kCfCJEOiMN.html. [Accessed: 17 March, 2017].

Sharma, S. (2016) And Force Cone Comes Back to ATS. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-and-force-one-comes-back-to-ats-2250732. [Accessed: 17 March, 2017].

The Hindu (2016) ‘Force One’ Commandos Get a Training Centre and Hostel. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/%E2%80%98Force-One%E2%80%99-commandos-get-a-training-centre-and-hostel/article14618090.ece. [Accessed” 17 March, 2017].

The Indian Express (2016) ‘Force One’ Building Inaugurated in Mumbai. Available from World Wide Web: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/force-one-building-inaugurated-in-mumbai-3008284/. [Accessed: 17 March, 2017].