Connect with us

Americas

How Special Forces Of India, MARCOS & Para SF Compete Against US Navy SEALs?

Published

on

Why the Special Forces of India including MARCOS and Para SF are nowhere close to the US  Navy SEALs and other Western Special Forces. Though MARCOS and Para SF commandos are more resilient and daring, however, the lack of resources impairs their operations and thus the success rate. So, how do the special forces of India, MARCOS & Para SF stand against the western counterparts? A EurAsian Times analysis.

us navy seals

US Navy Seals in Action

There is an almost embarrassing lack of adequate acquisition within the elite regiments of the Special Forces of India. The Marine Commandos (MARCOS) and Paramilitary Special Forces (Para SF) are highly undervalued than their American counterpart – Navy SEALs.

Special Forces Of India – Para SF

The Indian Army’s wing of Special Force commandos called Para SF was created in 1966 during the Indo-Pakistan War (1965). They came in existence under a maverick military endeavour undertaken by Major Megh Singh who constituted a small group of lethal soldiers to operate behind enemy lines and thwart enemy defences.

The team was initially called the ‘Meghdoot Force’ owing to the ad-hoc nature of the operation under Major Megh Singh. This group was disbanded and joined with the Parachute Regiment, which became the first special operations unit.

Image result for para sf

Para SF – Special Forces of India

The current strength of the Para SF stands around 5000-6000 personnel. The Para SF has participated in many combat operations including Operation Bluestar, conflict in the Maldives and the 1999 Kargil War. Para SF is considered one of the oldest special force of India having real combat experience.

Special Forces Of India – MARCOS

The Marine Commandos (MARCOS) is an elite force within the Indian Navy who are trained to perform missions on all terrains. In terms of capabilities, the MARCOS are the closest to that of the Navy SEALs.

Formerly known as Indian Marine Special Force, the group is said to be particularly specialised in maritime operations. With a strength around 2000, most of their operations remain classified.

India Set To Acquire Lethal Drones That Killed Top Iranian General – Qassem Soleimani

Among the known active combat involvements, the group has participated in Operation Pawan (Sri Lanka-LTTE conflict), Operation Black Tornado (2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks) and the 1999 Kargil War. The training programme of the outfit is modelled around that of the Navy SEALs and harbours a lot of comparison in that line.

The combined capabilities of the special forces units like MARCOS and Para SF are effective in many situations of “unconventional combat.” These regiments are heavily involved in counter-insurgency operations and special reconnaissance for the Indian Navy and Indian Army respectively and national security sustenance as a whole.

Image result for marcos indian navy

MARCOS – Special Forces of India

These outfits are also heavily vested in hostage rescue operations, the difference being that MARCOS involves itself in mostly maritime environments while the Para SF largely seeks operations within and beyond Indian territories.

The MARCOS is heavily involved in clandestine operations on vital maritime assets behind enemy lines, amphibious operations and pre-assault ops in support of military operations. The Para SF, on the other hand, is involved in almost similar activities but on largely on land. They are involved in subversion and sabotage operations behind enemy lines along with covert and direct action operations.

Special Forces of India – Where are they Lacking?

Combat in recent times has achieved an aggregated impetus with growing tensions in different parts of the nation’s borders. In an attempt to combat this crisis,  the armed forces have instituted elite regiments to cater to threats that might hamper India’s sovereignty.

The special forces of India such as the MARCOS (Marine Commandos – Indian Navy), PARA SF (Paramilitary Special Forces – Indian Army) find themselves ill-prepared in modern covert and direct warfare as compared to their American counterparts.

Meet The Super-Hero From Jharkhand Who Killed 29 Pakistani Soldiers During The Kargil War

There is a glaring lack of modernisation within the special forces of the Indian military. There is a major setback in the weapons of warfare with the Para SF using the Israeli TAR 21 Tavor, Israeli rifle that fails to give the same impact than the use of arms by the Navy SEALs.

More often than not, the ammunitions provided to the Navy SEALs are largely technically sound and highly modernised. There is a great use of technology and amalgamation of tactile arms use and modern resources.

Image result for russian alpha group

Special Forces of Russia – Alpha Group

There is a lack of equipment and weapons within Indian special forces. Where the Navy SEALs have M88 .50 PIP and M-14 sniper rifles and AT4 anti-tank rockets, the Para SF finds themselves highly undermined with most of their kit supplied by the Ordnance Factory Board.

There is a lack of good anti-material rifles, long-range sniper rifles. A common complaint within the special forces outfits in the military is the lack of regiment specific equipment which is solely dedicated to the particular unit of the special forces.

Commenting on the Bin Laden mission by the Navy SEALs, an Indian SF officer pointed out (as per secondary research by the EurAsian Times) that the entire mission was carried out in Special Operations Black Hawk helicopters. The officer suggested, “We can only boast of Mi-17V5 transport choppers which too are not dedicated for us.”

Special Forces of India – What’s Going Wrong?

There is a lack of coordination within the command circles for these forces as a result of which there is a lack of cohesiveness in their response. There is a separate intelligence wing for each special forces outfit which makes it chaotic to pass and share information for effective execution of the mission.

We Can Take Back Entire Pakistan Occupied-Kashmir; Only Political Will Required: Indian Army Chief

Apart from an overall lack of coordination, there are rampant turf wars that often end up in wasteful expenditure. An example is, the purchase of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) by the Air Force, Army and Navy in that order. Each of these was bought at different prices from Israel unmindful of the repair and maintenance costs.

It is rumoured that most of the acquired UAVs now collect dust in some military warehouse. There is an argument to be made for a centralised authority among the Special Forces units of all faction of the military. This system is followed by the US Navy SEALs and other Special Force units under the aegis of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Image result for british sas

The British SAS – Special Forces of the UK

The JSOC has all the special operatives under its wing and directly reports to the US Secretary of Defence and the President while carrying out its missions. There is a need to free the Indian special forces from the trampling Indian bureaucracy of the Defence Ministry and allow them to acquire weapons and services by vesting spending on to their command.

The extensive delay to even acquire a rifle maims the purpose of the elite nature of the outfit. The newly raised 11 and 12 Para SF units were found to deployed with basic infantry weapons in the North-East and lacked enough weapons to carry out the operation.

MARCOS has been asking for special platform V-22 Osprey helicopters which can stealthily take small teams in and out of terrains, which was shot down and almost entirely disregarded in the alleys of defence bureaucratic circus.

Indian Paramilitary Forces Finally Move From Blankets & Pillows To Sleeping Bags

Special Forces of India – Lacking Technology?

The major difference between the Navy SEALs and the special forces of India (MARCOS, Para SF) is the fact that the SEALs are involved in a heavily centralised chain of command. Their missions take a national value and any and every instrument is left at their disposal.

This does not seem to be the case with the special forces of India. Another factor is the fact that there is heavy investment in modernisation tendencies within the US and this spills over to the military spending as well. The investment in UAVs and such arms and ammunitions that are largely driven by technology are seen as tactical advantages on the ground.

Indonesia Opens Another Military Base at Natuna Islands To Counter Aggressive China

The units tend to have a better knowledge of the domain than their Indian counterparts due to artificially available and highly capable alternatives. There is also the added advantage of experience in combat that the Navy SEALs can boast about. The most recent teams have been involved in more than 20 years of collective combat experience.

It is an important advantage that the special forces of India lack, comparatively. It is also important to factor in the tightly knit relationship between the CIA and JSOC which helps in the effective execution of any mission. The coordinated efforts of intelligence agencies, defence innovation industry and the operatives make for easy execution.

Image result for special forces drones

A Mini Drone Operated By the US Special Forces

The state of coordinated efforts in Indian special forces circles is abysmal as it is maimed by a turf war, bracketed lines of communications with each wing having its trail of intelligence. There is a lack of coordination and sharing of intelligence. The ineffectiveness of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to innovate due to never-ending red tape and jingoism leads to further shoddiness in work ethic and therefore precision-driven results.

There is the fact that in recent times, the value of these elite forces has been degrading consistently. The elite status bestowed upon these operatives owing to their specific training for carrying out specific operations is being undermined.

It is found that nowadays the special forces personnel are being utilised as lower corps formation in infantry battalions. There is a decadent inability to see the value of special forces operative as a strategic asset rather than a tactical asset.

As India-Vietnam Strengthen Relations; Can India Set-Up a Naval Base In Vietnam?

It is imperative that the Indian special forces are kept away from Cordon and Search Operations (CASO) and daily counter-terror operations. At a time when the world is seen to utilise tactical gear and highly modernised machinery, Indian forces still seem to live in the world of using Maruti Gypsy.

It is important that the special forces acquire the state of the art technology to combat the dynamic nature of the terrorist threat of the modern world. Essentially, Indian special forces need the technology of tomorrow and not yesterday to come at par with the US Navy Seals.

There must be an increase in training opportunities in foreign countries. The ramping up of Para SF, MARCOS and other Indian SF units training sessions with US Army SF, Navy SEALs, Sayeret Matkal and the British SAS. The involvement of the unorthodox but effective tactics of the Russian Spetsnaz have seen to take effect in modern warfare, the Indian units can gain from engaging with these foreign outfits.

Indian Military Base In Sabang, Indonesia Can Strangle China At The Strait of Malacca

Improvements in Special Forces of India

In recent years, there have been some improvements in the initiatives taken for the sake of the Indian Special Forces. The recent constitution for central command, Armed Forces Special Operations Division, has taken shape.

Major General AK Dhingra is said to helm the initiative and this division would be the first point of contact for major counter-terrorist operations. This division would have a strength of 3000 personnel drawn from all special forces services in the country. There are reports that the said Armed Forces Special Operations Division would have its coordinated cyber agency to collect, coordinate and execute intelligence for any given operation.

Indian Naval Base in Andaman Island a Key “Cog in the Wheel” to Control Strait of Malacca

In terms of weaponry, the special forces can see an upgrade with the purchase of new long-range sniper rifles and portable anti-tank systems and modernisation efforts to the clandestine warfare arm. The government has called for specialised weaponry from Finland, Germany, Sweden, Israel and Russia.

According to sources, more attention is being paid to elite forces as a result of growing insurgency near the borders. Contracts for new Finnish Sako sniper rifles, Swedish Carl Gustaf Mark-4 light weight rocket-launchers, Italian Beretta pistols with silencers, for instance, have been inked for the Army’s existing nine Para-SF battalions, suggests sources.

Russian VSS suppressed sniper rifles, air-droppable rubberised inflatable boats, remotely operated underwater vehicles for explosive disposal, combat free-fall parachutes, hands-free power ascenders and opposed boarding equipment are all in the pipe for the MARCOS.

JF-17 vs Rafale: Why Pakistani JF-17 Thunder Poses A Serious Threat To Indian Rafale Fighter Jets?

There is no doubt in the capabilities of the Indian special forces especially MARCOS and Para SF. In terms of physical and intellectual abilities during combat, the Indian elite soldiers are at par or if not better than their US counterparts.

Modern warfare isn’t just about grit anymore, there are many moving pieces and technological integration that gives an edge on the ground. If special forces of India wishes to reach the standards of the Navy SEALs, British SAS or Russian Alpha Group, it is important that the system is overhauled. The debilitatingly chronic delays on items as fundamental as parachutes and new rifles stifle the morale of the officers. Until these glaring holes in the bureaucracy are not addressed, India may never truly realise the full potential of MARCOS and Para SF.

The analysis has been penned by Mumbai based author Rahul Mahesh.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

FEATURED

Russia-China Russia-China
Featured18 mins ago

How Russia Assisted China To Surpass Itself As The Second-Most Powerful Air Force In The World?

Unlike how the entire world was dominated by an outpour of defence equipment in the form of fighter jets, tanks,...

Japan-Russia Japan-Russia
Asia Pacific3 hours ago

Russia, Japan Tensions Set To Explode; Moscow To Deploy S-300 Missiles In The Disputed Kuril Islands

Another round of discord may erupt between Russia and Japan over the long-disputed Kuril islands (known in Japan as the...

Pakistan-FDI-china Pakistan-FDI-china
Americas5 hours ago

Pakistan, China ‘Seriously Concerned’ After India Signs Geospatial Pact With The United States

With BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) India received a massive boost to access American capabilities including geospatial intelligence for...

TURKEY TURKEY
Featured6 hours ago

Turkey Aghast As French Magazine Charlie Hebdo Publishes ‘Loathsome Caricature’ Of Erdogan

Turkey has denounced French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing “loathsome so-called caricatures” purportedly of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Charlie...

Putin-Macron Putin-Macron
Americas15 hours ago

From Rafale Jets To Airbus – How Will Turkey, Qatar & Egypt Manage To Boycott France?

French President Emmanuel Macron has gone all-out in his attempt to defend the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which...

US-ELECTIONS-20202-TRUMP-BIDEN US-ELECTIONS-20202-TRUMP-BIDEN
Americas16 hours ago

Why US Media Is Again Underestimating Donald Trump & Ignoring His Master-Strokes?

Many analysts also fear that Joe Biden could reverse Donald Trump's policies of going tough on China and Iran while...

putin-russia putin-russia
Featured18 hours ago

French Dassault Fighter Jets Intercepted By Russian Su-27 Over The Black Sea

The Russian Defense Ministry’s National Center for Defense Management has said that Russian Air Force’s Su-27 intercepted several French attack...

ISRAEL-UAE ISRAEL-UAE
Featured19 hours ago

UAE Attempts To Woo Indonesia As It Normalizes Ties With Israel

In a historic visit, a delegation of UAE’ senior officials visited Israel for the first time, after the peace treaty,...

F-22-RAPTOR F-22-RAPTOR
Featured21 hours ago

Not Happy With F-35 Jets, Israel Looks To Acquire The Ultimate Dogfighter – F-22 Raptors From The US

Nowhere did Israel President Benjamin Netanyahu see that the historical normalisation “Abraham Accord” it has signed with the United Arab...

Russia-China Russia-China
Asia Pacific1 day ago

Russia Equips Chinese Special Forces With Latest Helicopters As It Battles India In The Eastern Ladakh

With a military stand-off that enters its sixth month not soon from now, neighbours India and China have entered an...

Advertisement