Discussion on Indian Special Forces

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Gaur » 04 Jun 2011 09:37

Viv S,
I was not able to watch your posted video earlier. Fortunately, I saw it just now and it was an amazing footage! Really worth the 1080p. So, thanks for posting. :-)

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Singha » 04 Jun 2011 10:17

what was the american unit in that exercise ? green berets ? rangers ?
was the indian unit from para regt or one of the para cdo btns?

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Viv S » 04 Jun 2011 19:18

Singha wrote:what was the american unit in that exercise ? green berets ? rangers ?
was the indian unit from para regt or one of the para cdo btns?


Green berets - US Army 1st Special Forces Group

The Indian detachment was from a Para-SF unit - they exchanged badges after the exercise so you can see a US soldier wearing the IA's red 'Special Forces' tab as well as the 'Balidaan' badge on his uniform.
Last edited by Viv S on 04 Jun 2011 19:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Viv S » 04 Jun 2011 19:18

Gaur wrote:Viv S,
I was not able to watch your posted video earlier. Fortunately, I saw it just now and it was an amazing footage! Really worth the 1080p. So, thanks for posting. :-)


You're very welcome.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rohitvats » 04 Jun 2011 22:07

About COIN experience, Indian 8th Mountain Division, prior to US Army experience in Iraq, had more man-hours experience in CI Ops than entire US Army. That should tell something to the Americans.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby vaibhav.n » 05 Jun 2011 16:56

Singha Sir,

Yudh Abhyas had elements from 3 Para, 5 Para and some of the Para Bde's combat support elements(Arty, AAD, Sappers). Another very important visit happening at the same time was by IA's Army Aviation Pilots to Fort Wainwright home to the combat aviation Bde.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPnsVKm5 ... re=related

Cheers!!

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby ManuT » 05 Jun 2011 20:52

vaibhav.n wrote:Singha Sir,

Yudh Abhyas had elements from 3 Para, 5 Para and some of the Para Bde's combat support elements(Arty, AAD, Sappers). Another very important visit happening at the same time was by IA's Army Aviation Pilots to Fort Wainwright home to the combat aviation Bde.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPnsVKm5 ... re=related

Cheers!!


Right next to it is this on Yudh Abhyas 2010
[youtube]a8z-dV0reso&feature=related[/youtube]

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rahul_r » 06 Jun 2011 07:03

Not sure where to post this.

CCTV footage of MARCOS operating inside the Taj hotel

http://www.youtube.com/user/thesundayindian#p/u/7/7k8ckX5hNJQ

Edited: updated title to say MARCOS. Thanks for the correction.
Last edited by rahul_r on 06 Jun 2011 17:04, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Dmurphy » 06 Jun 2011 08:32

rahul_r wrote:Not sure where to post this.

CCTV footage of NSG commandos operating inside the Taj hotel

http://www.youtube.com/user/thesundayindian#p/u/7/7k8ckX5hNJQ
More likely they're MARCOS.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby KiranM » 06 Jun 2011 09:20

They are definitely MARCOs. BDU indicates that. Also it matches with the BDU worn by snipers with Dragunov covering the perimeter of Taj. The team in video had an assortment of weapons - AK??, MP5 and silenced MP5 and possibly a flash bang (though seemed to smoke more so may be a smoke grenade).

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby sum » 06 Jun 2011 10:09

Gaur wrote:Viv S,
I was not able to watch your posted video earlier. Fortunately, I saw it just now and it was an amazing footage! Really worth the 1080p. So, thanks for posting. :-)

Beautiful, beautiful video!!! Amazing PR mechanism the US armed forces have.. amazing vid with stunning video-graphy.

Also, very nice and frank comments from the green berets. Would have been nice to hear a couple of our guys too.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Singha » 06 Jun 2011 10:17

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7WlobEm8LY
this one you can see atleast 4 of the pakis moving around the building. 2 enter through shopping arcade. there is footage of 4 of them together in a upper balcony trying to kick doors in. one guy has stuck a large map of the whole building into his backpack.

the suited guy in marcos cctv must be a taj employee who went along as guide. many such employees volunteered when asked for guides - the building seems a maze of interconnected rooms, corridors and balconies.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby atreya » 06 Jun 2011 10:34

You are right Singha ji. He is a Taj employee serving as a guide. Brave souls walking headlong into danger.

http://www.thesundayindian.com/article. ... e_id=12817

An explanation of all the videos released by the Sunday Indian

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby sum » 06 Jun 2011 10:37

^^ hats off to that guy too for bravely guding them without any protection on him and actually, opening the unchecked doors to check inside even before the MARCOs sanitize the place..

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Raja Bose » 06 Jun 2011 11:24

Dmurphy wrote:
rahul_r wrote:Not sure where to post this.

CCTV footage of NSG commandos operating inside the Taj hotel

http://www.youtube.com/user/thesundayindian#p/u/7/7k8ckX5hNJQ
More likely they're MARCOS.


They are MARCOS - one of the tall chaps got injured.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby vdutta » 20 Jun 2011 23:29

I was at a rajasthan tourism midway during my journey and while i was eating my lunch all of sudden a dozen smartly dressed mean looking Black Cats showed up. my jaw literally dropped when i saw them from so close. they looked kick ass.
I kept on asking them what were they doing there but they didnt say a word. finally i saw few JK police officers and asked them the same question and one of them smiled and replied that FArukh Abdullah is here. man that guy rolls with a mean looking small army.

Those black cats had different variants of MP5, few had MP5A3 and rest had MP5K with retractable stock. all of them had twin magazines and had sling hook. their guns were in front of them and at no point of time their index finger was not on the trigger. they managed to keep the gun discipline even when they were talking, walking , eating or running.

Then there were few kashmiri guards with black safari suits with AK 47 with collapsible stock on their back. They looked like afghani special forces.

And then there were JK police officers with AKs and revolvers etc.

on top of that Rajasthan Police was at the outer peremiter with usual FN FAL.

i felt like i was in the middle of a army operation center.

i tried to locate farukh abdullah but he was in a vip room and i dared not enter it.

lol i wanted to take pictures but my couple of previous experiences thwarted me in doing so.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Shrinivasan » 21 Jun 2011 09:28

vdutta wrote:i tried to locate farukh abdullah but he was in a vip room and i dared not enter it.
lol i wanted to take pictures but my couple of previous experiences thwarted me in doing so.

You know one funny thing, I tried searching for FA's pictures with his security Retinue, how many did I get? ZILCH. I can get hazaar pictures of Jayalalitha who becase CM yesterday but none of FA. Interesting?

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby vdutta » 21 Jun 2011 10:29

cheenum wrote:
vdutta wrote:i tried to locate farukh abdullah but he was in a vip room and i dared not enter it.
lol i wanted to take pictures but my couple of previous experiences thwarted me in doing so.

You know one funny thing, I tried searching for FA's pictures with his security Retinue, how many did I get? ZILCH. I can get hazaar pictures of Jayalalitha who becase CM yesterday but none of FA. Interesting?


True, i tried to search for it too but nothing.
actually from pics he looks like least secured minister in India

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby vivekmehta » 21 Jun 2011 13:46

once traveled in Jammu rajdhani from Jammu to Delhi .he was in there . security was V tight . we were not even allowed to use the loo on his side …….

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Shrinivasan » 22 Jun 2011 00:04

vdutta wrote:True, i tried to search for it too but nothing.
actually from pics he looks like least secured minister in India

FA (and his clan) are the cause of the problem AND THE SOLUTION in Kashmir?

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby wig » 27 Jun 2011 12:14

Army raises special forces battalion

Strengthening its capabilities to carry out special operations, the Indian Army is raising a new special forces battalion which will be deployed in the north-eastern sector.

Counter-terror Force

* Eighth special forces battalion of Parachute Regiment

* To be deployed for counter-
insurgency ops in the N-E

A new battalion of the Parachute Regiment -- 11 Para (SF)--is being raised and will be first deployed in the north-eastern sector, Army sources said here. This will be eighth special forces battalion of the Parachute Regiment and will be deployed in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in that region, they said.

The Parachute Regiment has 10 battalions under it and seven of them have been trained as special forces, which are supposed to carry out counter-terrorist operations during peacetime and sabotage enemy installations beyond enemy lines during wars.

The special forces battalions include the 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 21 para units, which are deployed in different sectors of the country and have also been given responsibility to handle any 26/11 type attacks if that occurs near their area of deployment. The Army wants to increase the number of special forces troops to more than 10 battalions with around 700 men in each. These battalions have been provided with modern equipment such as Tavor 21 assault rifles.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110627/nation.htm#7

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby sum » 27 Jun 2011 12:50

^^ 7000 men( 7700 men now) and they are still being called "special forces"?

Isn't it a bit bloated to be called "special"?

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rohitvats » 27 Jun 2011 13:03

Everything is relative.....it is bloated with respect to what? Size of foreign armies? But then, what is the relative strength of foreign armies with respect to IA? Even at ~8,000 men, SF troops are not even 2% of the size of men under fighting arms of IA. So, why worry?

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby hulaku » 27 Jun 2011 14:05

Farooq Abdullah is a Cabinet Minister and is provided NSG cover. And yes there might be some Kashmiris in his security detail in Safari suits and such but JK Police providing protection to a Union Minister in Rajasthan? It is very hard for me to believe.

I saw Farooq saab a couple years back (2007-2008) driving around in Khan Market with just one or two people who I assume were his security.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby D Roy » 27 Jun 2011 16:34

Noko has a 88,000 strong 'special force'. and despite the inverted ... they are quite good actually and are pretty well trained in demolition and airborne assault using AN-2s.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby satya » 27 Jun 2011 18:00

Actually if one go by the number of 'theaters' IA has to operate & given the importance of beyond traditional frontiers number of desh's SF is fraction of wht's actually required ( heard somewhere if one go by true blue integrated intel-sf apparatus with own support staff total should be somewhere near 100K as baseline ) . Remember '' kos kos pe badli paani 2 kos pe badli vaani' iirc & fact we have to cover both internal & external fronts . But its a start . IA doing ok given these are cautious first steps to have a dedicated SF troops for NE which is going to be red hot in this decade .

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Surya » 27 Jun 2011 18:18

First of all who are the true SF

Public info would suggest its still the first 4

1,9,10 and 21

The remaining 3 changed to SF under Nirbhay SHarma's wet dream process are not genuine SF.

Now if the old process has been restored then maybe there will be a true SF bn raised
maybe the other 3 will be reworked in the old probation method.



I also want to know if MOD has sanctioned it.

Lastly why would a SF be raised for CI

Ci just serves to give some practice but it should be only a small percentage of their tasks.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Surya » 27 Jun 2011 19:09

just noticed the reference to bloated


Our SF is overstretched

Technically we have 4 genuine sf -

They are actively being used in j&K and NE + UN expedition support+ unknown places :) - areas large enough to require far more
Plus we need a few companies in reserve - we barely have that

Taking into account - time for training etc. the poor guys have hardly any rest.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Viv S » 27 Jun 2011 19:17

6500-7000 is approximately the size of the US Special Forces. Given that the Indian Army and US Army are roughly the same size, that's the same proportion of elite troops.

Which does raise a question of whether these units are capable of all possible tasks that may be required of them. The US military classifies its Army Special Forces (Green Berets) as well as Navy SEALs as Tier 3 SOF units with their main purpose being unconventional tasks in wartime, or counter-insurgency operations. Tier 1 units include the Delta Force and Seal Team 6, which are a smaller group, relatively experienced, technology intensive, on permanent readiness and specializing in counter-terrorism and high value surgical operations (like the Abbottabad raid). That's one option the Indian Army could consider... unless they already have (SFF-SG?).

In any case, the first step has to be the establishment of a Special Forces Command detaching it from the Parachute Regiment while at the same time increasing the number of Para Bns from to 5-6 from the current 3. And the secondly, the final call on major decision made regarding the Special Forces needs to made by the SF brass, with stress being on retaining quality. The impression the army is giving out (whether accurate or not) is that since it has more Tavors and radios to dole out now, it can afford to hike the number of available battalions.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Gaur » 27 Jun 2011 19:32

Viv S wrote:Which does raise a question of whether these units are capable of all possible tasks that may be required of them. The US military classifies its Army Special Forces (Green Berets) as well as Navy SEALs as Tier 3 SOF units with their main purpose being unconventional tasks in wartime, or counter-insurgency operations. Tier 1 units include the Delta Force and Seal Team 6, which are a smaller group, relatively experienced, technology intensive, on permanent readiness and specializing in counter-terrorism and high value surgical operations (like the Abbottabad raid). That's one option the Indian Army could consider... unless they already have (SFF-SG?).

PARA SF is already well trained in the areas you mention.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby ParGha » 27 Jun 2011 19:40

Surya wrote:Plus we need a few companies in reserve - we barely have that. Taking into account - time for training etc. the poor guys have hardly any rest.


In actual operations, you need 1/4th of the fighting force in the reserves - this the formula around which the army is organized; for example, a battalion has four Rif Coys because one is held in reserve while three attack. In the Indian SNAFU that passes for "peace", if one unit is in an active area, the AHQ tries to keep at least one equivalent unit in active training and another equivalent in a true peace posture; that is, you need two units in reserves for every unit in deployment.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Viv S » 27 Jun 2011 19:46

Gaur wrote:PARA SF is already well trained in the areas you mention.


So are the Green Berets but its question of specialization. As a smaller group they can train for HRT more intensively, invest far more in technology, while maintaining a greater operations tempo than regular SF units to the point where operators rarely serve more than 10 years within the units.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Gaur » 27 Jun 2011 19:51

Surya wrote:just noticed the reference to bloated


Our SF is overstretched

Technically we have 4 genuine sf -

They are actively being used in j&K and NE + UN expedition support+ unknown places :) - areas large enough to require far more
Plus we need a few companies in reserve - we barely have that

Taking into account - time for training etc. the poor guys have hardly any rest.

I cannot comment on whether 2,3,4 SF are on par with the older battalions or not. However, it is very unfair to say that only the 4 older batallions are "actively being used". Take a look at the list of gallantry award winners (even in the recent years) and you will notice that they are very much sharing the burden of the old Batallions. Even if you go by unit citations, the rest have a highly respectable numbers.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Gaur » 27 Jun 2011 19:58

Viv S wrote:
Gaur wrote:PARA SF is already well trained in the areas you mention.


So are the Green Berets but its question of specialization. As a smaller group they can train for HRT more intensively, invest far more in technology, while maintaining a greater operations tempo than regular SF units to the point where operators rarely serve more than 10 years within the units.

I am afraid that I am unable to understand your reasoning. Why comes in the way of a unit like...say 9 PARA SF from reaching the level of "specialization" that you desire? Please be specific.

Regarding the serving tenure in SF. Each soldier in PARA SF serves only till he is deemed fit enough (both mentally and physically). If he is found lacking, then the person is sent back to his parent regiment. Also, what do you mean by "greater operational temp"? :-)

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Surya » 27 Jun 2011 20:07

I cannot comment on whether 2,3,4 SF are on par with the older battalions or not. However, it is very unfair to say that only the 4 older batallions are "actively being used".


Gaur

that was not my intention to say only the four are actively used. just that I consider the SF as made up those 4

I just do not consider the ones created out of the 3 month process the same.

No corelation to gallantry - thats there in SF, non SF , regular infantry etc etc

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Gaur » 27 Jun 2011 20:18

^^
I see. :-) Anyway, now all the SF batallions( including the new ones) undergo 6 month probation. 3 month is only for the Para Airbourne. So, the probation period problem has been remedied.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Viv S » 27 Jun 2011 21:06

Gaur wrote:I am afraid that I am unable to understand your reasoning. Why comes in the way of a unit like...say 9 PARA SF from reaching the level of "specialization" that you desire? Please be specific.

Regarding the serving tenure in SF. Each soldier in PARA SF serves only till he is deemed fit enough (both mentally and physically). If he is found lacking, then the person is sent back to his parent regiment. Also, what do you mean by "greater operational temp"? :-)


Nothing prevents 9 PARA SF from that kind of specialization. Give it complete autonomy with regard to training and equipment, a budget well in excess of other infantry or SF units, let it co-opt the most experienced operators from other SF battalions, let it independently develop ties with the RAW as well as SF units from other countries (without some member of the general staff nodding along or wagging his finger) and you'll have a specialized unit.

The question you're asking is the same one they asked before the formation of the Tier One units in the US - why create new units when the existing units have smart, tough men who've been through an arduous selection process? From what I gathered from the books I've read about the matter - the crux of the issue was size and autonomy. Smaller units with greater independence were determined to be always qualitative superior to larger organisations (the US Army's SF had a strength of about 20,000 in the late 80s IIRC) that started to inculcate a degree of standardisation, loss of innovation and lack of refinement in training with increasing size.

With regard to operational tempo - the American Tier 1 forces spend more time in training or operations than 'regular' SF troops, to extent that they prefer to recruit unmarried males and have much higher 'burnout' rates than other SOF units.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Gaur » 28 Jun 2011 01:48

You are suggesting that we create a "small" Tier 1 SF (like US) because it will lead to greater $$$ and "other benefits"(I will come to other benefits later).

Regarding things like more $$$ and SF command, there can be no disagreement. That is precisely what every forum member has been saying for a long time.

However, regarding creating a new smaller SF unit, it is worth noting that PARA SF is already very small. US Army has a strength of .56 million (not even half of IA) and look at its SF size. Even if you consider Marines and Navy, the SF is still proportionally much larger. Seeing that, I think PARA SF is very small as it is (BTW, I think that the SF batallion strength cited in paper is off the mark. But without a source, I will not go more into that). If Para SF is not being funded properly, it has little do do with its size than the general apathy of things. An even smaller SF will not change that.

Now regarding other things you have mentioned:
1> autonomy with regards to training-
Already present.

2>let it co-opt the most experienced operators from other SF battalions-
The PARA SF operators are already selected through an extraordinarily stringent selection process. And considering the current operational intensity in India, every one is highly experienced. But if you want to get even more selective, there are groups within each SF unit...some having particularly illustrative history. Also, there is SG.

3>let it independently develop ties with the RAW
Again SG.

4> co-corporation with SF units from other countries (without some member of the general staff nodding along or wagging his finger)
A lot of that is already going on and there is no interference from the general staff on that count.

With regard to operational tempo - the American Tier 1 forces spend more time in training or operations than 'regular' SF troops, to extent that they prefer to recruit unmarried males and have much higher 'burnout' rates than other SOF units.

At least in this case, nothing more can be done. Para SF are already working at a ridiculously high tempo (both operationally and while training). They are overstretched as it is. So have some mercy on them by not suggesting that they work at even greater tempo. :D


Also, you seem to be like the idea of a small bunch of people being selected from different SF units and working together for a limited time at "high tempo". It sounds good but it is generally a very bad idea. Motivation, trust and confidence are the most important factors for any SF unit. When an Officer has led his men for all his past career, he understands the strengths and weakness of each individual. He knows who is cautious and who is over enthusiastic. He knows how to motivate each person. Similarly, having being led for a long time by the officer, the jawans have such faith in their Officers which can only be developed by going through hell together for a long time (this is where NSG and to a lesser extent SG are at a disadvantage). That is why Army soldiers (specially SF personnel) talk a lot about "gelling". This is very important and some really hardy people are rejected during probation because they are not able to gel well enough with their fellow soldiers (this is even mentioned by a Para Airborne Officer in Mission Army series).
One thing which is an amazingly commonplace occurrence within IA is soldiers sacrificing their lives without a second thought to save their wounded companion or retrieving a dead body while facing heavy fire. While this is not unique to IA, the fact that this is so commonplace in IA is a unique thing. This is because it goes against every instinct of human nature to face a near certain death for a lost cause. It is only through years of bonding that you don't even think twice before jumping in the way of bullets for your fellow soldier.
On the other hand, when there is lack of bonding, what you get is SAS Bravo Two Zero where the soldiers are at each other's throats and the team leader abandons his team-mate to die. And even years after the mission is over, they sling dirt at each other and their fallen companions by hiding behind fake names.

So, there is nothing lacking as far as training is concerned. That part is exceptional and even a new smaller SF will achieve nothing more. IMO, nothing radical is needed other than to create a separate SF command. Also, more equipment goes without saying for the whole of infantry.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Viv S » 28 Jun 2011 14:13

Gaur wrote:However, regarding creating a new smaller SF unit, it is worth noting that PARA SF is already very small. US Army has a strength of .56 million (not even half of IA) and look at its SF size. Even if you consider Marines and Navy, the SF is still proportionally much larger. Seeing that, I think PARA SF is very small as it is (BTW, I think that the SF batallion strength cited in paper is off the mark. But without a source, I will not go more into that). If Para SF is not being funded properly, it has little do do with its size than the general apathy of things. An even smaller SF will not change that.


The US Army's size is about 900,000 including the ANG - which makes it a slightly higher proportion of SF troops.

Now regarding other things you have mentioned:
1> autonomy with regards to training-
Already present.


Is 9 Para allowed to create an independent training program? I was under the impression the training was common to all Para-SF units.

2>let it co-opt the most experienced operators from other SF battalions-
The PARA SF operators are already selected through an extraordinarily stringent selection process. And considering the current operational intensity in India, every one is highly experienced. But if you want to get even more selective, there are groups within each SF unit...some having particularly illustrative history. Also, there is SG.

3>let it independently develop ties with the RAW
Again SG.


As units US SEALs are quite experienced as well, yet the ST6 picks out the most experienced applicants for itself.

Regard SG, I agree... that's probably India's equivalent (as I said in my original post as well). It recruits primarily from SF and Airborne units, is independent of IA's chain of command, works intensively with RAW and has a classified budget.

'Groups within each SF unit'? Care to elaborate.

4> co-corporation with SF units from other countries (without some member of the general staff nodding along or wagging his finger)
A lot of that is already going on and there is no interference from the general staff on that count.


Cross training is one thing but unless I'm mistaken all activities conducted abroad have to vetted at senior levels, and having .. say an officer and a senior NCO imbedded into the Sayeret Matkal on active operations, is something the brass would tend to frown upon.

At least in this case, nothing more can be done. Para SF are already working at a ridiculously high tempo (both operationally and while training). They are overstretched as it is. So have some mercy on them by not suggesting that they work at even greater tempo. :D Also, you seem to be like the idea of a small bunch of people being selected from different SF units and working together for a limited time at "high tempo". It sounds good but it is generally a very bad idea.


I've never served in the SF so obviously I have no experience to bank upon. I'm just relating what I've gathered from books about the formation behind the tier 1 units in the US military, which I read while asking the same questions you are - what was wrong with existing training standards?. Or if they were deficiencies - why not simply up the training and grant them greater autonomy. And the underlying theme in all sources was that a smaller independent units were more effective as well as (and this is something they stressed on) more innovative. Inaccurate? No real way of telling.

Gaur
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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Gaur » 28 Jun 2011 15:12

Viv S wrote:The US Army's size is about 900,000 including the ANG - which makes it a slightly higher proportion of SF troops.

ANG is a reserve force and AFAIK they don't contribute to SF. However, if one considers ANG numbers then even the IA reserve has to be taken into account. So, any way you look at it, IA strength is much greater. And seeing that, Para SF is already a very trim force.

Is 9 Para allowed to create an independent training program? I was under the impression the training was common to all Para-SF units.

Not only 9 Para, every Para batallion has independence in that regard. By and large, they all follow the same pattern. However, they tweak it as per their need. Eg: You would have seen the combat diver badge many Para SF folks wear. That is earned by completing Navy's diver's course at Cochi. However, the vacancies there are scant. So, the Para SF has its own combat diving course (I think 1 Para SF was the first to start it a long time ago) and they provide excellent combat diving training themselves. And there are numerous such examples to show the freedom with regards to training.
Even during probation, each Batallion improvises where required.

Also, training for Para SF is not linear anyway. There are different fields available to them. Training is a dynamic and continuous process and each operator branches out to gain expertise in specific fields depending upon what suits him best.

As units US SEALs are quite experienced as well, yet the ST6 picks out the most experienced applicants for itself.

I am afraid that I cannot say much about training and standards of SEAL. But when I look at the past operations of Para SF (especially the ones gone wrong where the mettle of the forces is truly revealed), my personal opinion is that Para SF are a bunch of as exceptional and filtered soldiers as you can ever hope to find. They are already a very trim force and I see no reason why they cannot be provided by the best of funding and equipment (other than red tape which would apply to even a smaller force). So, I see no value in selecting a group of soldiers from different units and sending them to a new unit. In fact, I feel that is very counter productive and I have explained the reasons for that in my previous post in much detail. However, even if one finds the need for such a model, then there is already SG and I see no reason to create another parallel SF with overlapping role. Anyway, the debate on the need of another small force can be a never ending one. Both of us have nothing but our own personal opinions. :-) So, let us just agree to disagree.

'Groups within each SF unit'? Care to elaborate.

Its nothing secretive. Each Batallion has several groups. Some groups have a more distinguished history than others. This much is fully true and official.
Now for the FWIW part. Since a certain no of operators have to come under a group anyway, each Batallion makes sure that the best of them come under a specific group. Obviously, the group has to be balanced containing the best operators from all fields (communication, medical, demolition, weapon specialists etc). So, there you have a special small group without having all the disadvantages which come with creating a different entity.

Cross training is one thing but unless I'm mistaken all activities conducted abroad have to vetted at senior levels, and having .. say an officer and a senior NCO imbedded into the Sayeret Matkal on active operations, is something the brass would tend to frown upon.

I am afraid that I am unable to fully understand what you are saying. Are you suggesting that our senior staff does not allow PARA SF Officers and senior NCOs to take part in joint exercises? :-? If so, then that is not the case.


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