Discussion on Indian Special Forces

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rkhanna
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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rkhanna » 02 Nov 2015 15:26

^^^ Breaching Charges.

I have seen an NSG Demo where the breacher worked in tandem with a Spotter who essentially had a mirror to Look to see if the window was clear.

In India the Breaching Charges for windows have a tendency to be on the stronger side. Us SDRE love putting Iron Bars on the windows which causes whole host of issues for Entry teams.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rkhanna » 07 Nov 2015 12:11

Drills on the Delhi Metro

Image

ramana
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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby ramana » 17 Nov 2015 21:15

For reference:

X-Post...
Singha wrote:GIGN (under army) - seems the 1st level unit - some were involved in bataclan. can move worldwide. advised the mosque takeover ops in makkah :oops:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_ ... tion_Group

RAID - responsible for Paris 21 districts under national police HQ - I think these ppl mainly entered the Bataclan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recherche ... Dissuasion

GIPN - some kinda regional SWAT
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupes_d ... _Nationale

BRI - another kind of SWAT against seriously armed crime
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigade_d ... tervention

GIGN & RAID is likely the equivalent of our NSG/GSG9/FBI-HRT.

just like Germany I think the GIGN is used for CT/HRT only and does not participate in army SF work.

I think they also train together and probably have some common drills, protocols and comm. gear.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Sid » 18 Nov 2015 03:02

rkhanna wrote:Drills on the Delhi Metro

Image


No mon ami, thats not Delhi Metro.

Either eurostar or some european local train.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby member_29172 » 18 Nov 2015 03:13

Sid wrote:
rkhanna wrote:Drills on the Delhi Metro

Image


No mon ami, thats not Delhi Metro.

Either eurostar or some european local train.


It's the Delhi metro.... why would an India-US joint exercise be held in some european village?

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Lalmohan » 18 Nov 2015 03:39

LooKs like Eurostar train

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby member_29172 » 18 Nov 2015 03:43

Lalmohan wrote:LooKs like Eurostar train

google image is your friend, look up Delhi Airport metro

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Sid » 18 Nov 2015 05:50

I stand corrected, its Delhi metro. Nice stuff

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Lalmohan » 18 Nov 2015 15:32

Alka_P wrote:
Lalmohan wrote:LooKs like Eurostar train

google image is your friend, look up Delhi Airport metro


quite right, i redact

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 19 Nov 2015 01:05

From Mission R&AW on the Al-Faran kidnapping

God knows how many opportunities we squandered away in the many decades.

Image

rkhanna
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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rkhanna » 19 Nov 2015 09:25

^^^ Not just the PMO. Imagine the number of Layers the Intel would have been bumped through just to get it to the PMO for approval. And imagine the number of 'Leak Points' along the way for the info to get out in the Public Domain.

Also does every Domestic Operation need to be signed off by PMO? Thats ridiculous.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 19 Nov 2015 13:24

rkhanna wrote:....
Also does every Domestic Operation need to be signed off by PMO? Thats ridiculous.


Will happen if raw leadership is political appointees with no spine. Compare with professional army structure which autonomously conducts coin ops everyday. Only precondition is afspa. Sff should be formally handed over to army

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rohitvats » 19 Nov 2015 13:30

^^^Beg to differ on the above assertion. This is a hostage situation we're talking about and one which involved foreign nationals. The strategy to handle this situation would flow from the top. And aspect like undertaking a HRT mission will need highest clearance as death of any hostage will have international ramifications.

In this very incident GOI came under tremendous pressure and the PM had to allow SAS to undertake their own operations on Indian soil. In spite of then COAS SR Chowdhury vehemently objecting to it.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 27 Nov 2015 01:24

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/mumbai-at ... /7619.html

The 26/11 Mumbai attacks were witness to extraordinary acts of raw courage. Ordinary civilians and security forces matched their wits against rampaging terrorists programmed to kill as many people as they could.

The unflappable railway announcer Vishnu Zende who calmly asked passengers to evacuate the CST station from a rear exit; assistant police inspector Tukaram Omble who heroically grappled with the armed terrorist Ajmal Kasab and died trying to take him alive. But nowhere was the intervention so timely and critical than at the Taj Mahal hotel. Four terrorists who entered the hotel at close to 10pm on November 26, 2008, had a free run through the hotel for nearly six hours, shooting anything that moved. The Mumbai Police, shaken by the ferocity of the multi-pronged assault on the city were dazed. The terrorists, meanwhile, guided by their Karachi-based handlers, jogged to the heritage wing of the Taj Mahal hotel with the largest suites. The control room set up by the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Karachi’s Malir Cantonment was equipped with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones that allowed them to speak to the ten terrorists, and, rather portentously, four TV screens were tuned to Indian news channels.

Not in their wildest dreams could the diabolical masterminds have expected the extent of information that Indian television channels would relay that night. They first instructed the terrorists to set fire to the heritage wing of the Taj, and then whooped in delight as they saw TV visuals of flames licking the top floors of the Taj.

The masterminds were ecstatic after midnight when Indian TV channels had contacted a few MPs trapped at the Taj. Soon after the terrorists attacked the hotel, hotel staff had bundled away nearly 200 hotel guests, including invitees at a wedding reception and MPs, into "The Chambers", a members-only club above the Taj lobby.

The staff fed and tended the guests whom they placed in the safety of five function rooms of "The Chambers" and waited for the right time to break out to safety. Here, the MPs rashly narrated their plight, on live national TV.At around 3am the masterminds relayed what they had learned, to the four terrorists. “Three ministers and one secretary of the Cabinet are in your hotel. We don’t know in which room,” the handler told the terrorist at the Taj. “Find those three-four persons and then get whatever you want from India.”

This, heartbreakingly, was the precise moment some survivors chose to emerge from their hideaway. The terrorists ran into their quarry and began firing indiscriminately. There were screams, and a stampede. Fifteen guests and hotel staff were scythed down by AK-47 bullets. Seven others lay on the floors, grievously injured. The remaining guests fled back into their sanctuaries and barricaded the doors. The terrorists began clawing at the doors like a school of sharks around seals.

CCTV grab of MARCOS engaging the terrorists at The Taj Chambers on the night of 26/11.
It was only a matter of time before they broke in. This is when the crucial turning point of 26/11 came. Eight Indian Navy Marine Commandos (MARCOS) arrived at the scene. They navigated through the smoke-filled corridors, past the bodies of the dead and the dying and the eerie stone corridors resonating with the trilling of cellphones. The MARCOS were among the fittest Indian special forces, trained to operate in all three dimensions and equipped with bulletproof jackets, AK-47s and MP5 submachine guns. A gunfight broke out between the four terrorists and the commandos. The terrorists "broke contact", retreating into "The Chambers Library" that faced the Gateway of India. The commandos pursued them into the library where a second gunfight broke out and two commandos were injured. The commandos retrieved their injured and covered what they thought was the only entrance into the library. They tossed tear gas canisters inside to flush the terrorists out. They entered the library an hour later but there was no sign of the terrorists. Unbeknownst to them, there was an exit through the kitchen which the terrorists used to run back into the heritage wing. The terrorists had inadvertently depleted their arsenal — they left a haversack behind with grenades and ammunition as they fled.

The commandos now focused on rescuing the hapless guests trapped in the various function rooms.
The MARCOS, usually deployed for the safety of oil installations or to counter pirates on the high seas, had reached the Taj by a series of coincidences. Their existence was revealed to Maharashtra chief secretary Johny Joseph by a naval officer friend. It allowed Joseph to place an urgent and specific request to the Navy: a request that was swiftly acceded to and was the game-changer that night. One hundred and sixty five persons died in the 26/11 attacks. But for the timely MARCOS intervention, the toll, as we know it, could have been far, far higher. It was the single most heroic act on the night of the 26/11 attacks.


At some point MARCOS snipers took up vantage at Gateway of India. Did they fire in?

MARCOS came in from INS Abhimanyu via gemini craft. That explains why only 8 made contact.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby JTull » 27 Nov 2015 02:51

Shows the need for nodal agency coordinating all such incidents and the need for SF Command.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Karan M » 28 Nov 2015 02:43

>>They tossed tear gas canisters inside to flush the terrorists out. They entered the library an hour later but there was no sign of the terrorists.

The hour later shows that the MARCOS were operating in a situation they were not drilled for.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Sid » 28 Nov 2015 03:11

^^
Or maybe they didnt had face masks that u need for insertion after a smoke grenade is used. They waited for tear gas to wear off, hence an hour delay.

But rushing in without proper knowledge of area/map, in light of terrorist indiscriminate killings, shows raw courage. Other western SWATS would have cordoned off the area and waited hours just before they gate crashed.

This operation had surprises similar to Beslan school, where killings suddenly started and Alpha troops had little time to coordinate leading to high casualty figures among CT force. Though they are one of the best.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby jayaaren » 28 Nov 2015 13:20

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city ... 941091.cms

saw this on Times - City section.
now we have a new hostage rescue unit??? trained in 3 months. am not a special forces or swat operative but surprised that a hostage rescue unit could be trained up in 3 months at a police training college. can understand that they can be first responders to an active shooter situation but full fledged hostage rescue!!! to quote a police official "Their training and combat skills are airport-centric. From getting into a highjacked aircraft without being visible to the enemy to eliminating the targets, and from rescuing the hostages to gathering intelligence, these men will proficiently deal with the situation," said Dinesh Kumar Gupta, DCP IGI.
would not say laughable as the paper might not have all the facts but ??? hardly think than they can substitute NSG-SAG

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby member_27581 » 28 Nov 2015 13:51

Sid wrote:But rushing in without proper knowledge of area/map, in light of terrorist indiscriminate killings, shows raw courage. Other western SWATS would have cordoned off the area and waited hours just before they gate crashed.

This operation had surprises similar to Beslan school, where killings suddenly started and Alpha troops had little time to coordinate leading to high casualty figures among CT force. Though they are one of the best.

On a side note i remember one TOI report during 26/11 that they didnt have torchlights to find terrorists. Always wondered is it flawed reporting or true report, coz special forces guns sometimes have light. But i think this explains what happened that day better

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Karan M » 28 Nov 2015 15:10

Sid wrote:^^
Or maybe they didnt had face masks that u need for insertion after a smoke grenade is used. They waited for tear gas to wear off, hence an hour delay.

But rushing in without proper knowledge of area/map, in light of terrorist indiscriminate killings, shows raw courage. Other western SWATS would have cordoned off the area and waited hours just before they gate crashed.

This operation had surprises similar to Beslan school, where killings suddenly started and Alpha troops had little time to coordinate leading to high casualty figures among CT force. Though they are one of the best.


Sid, exactly , they were unprepared for something like this. They did good but just shows how lackadaisical our security has been in the past era and the common man's requirements were nowhere in the picture. SPG waltzing around with imported gizmos and wasteful VIP chopper deals galore. While NSG was making do with outdated steel helmets they imported in the 1980s.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 28 Nov 2015 15:49

Should serve well as a first responder. Changi airport also has a well armed security contingent with Gorkhas. These guys are all over the airport in teams of 3:

Image

While it is heartening to see local police develop SWAT teams, the proliferation should be coordinated and in the right areas. All airports are under charge of the CISF, who also raised their own unit called 'Black Panthers'. This unit should have come from CISF and Delhi Police could have stood up this team in a central location. NSG anti hijack detachment is also very close to airport in any case.

jayaaren wrote:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/IGI-gets-elite-unit-to-foil-Paris-like-strike/articleshow/49941091.cms

saw this on Times - City section.
now we have a new hostage rescue unit??? ...

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 28 Nov 2015 15:59

Karan M wrote:...The hour later shows that the MARCOS were operating in a situation they were not drilled for.


They did not have maps of the place:

"Unbeknownst to them, there was an exit through the kitchen which the terrorists used to run back into the heritage wing."

Cant blame them really, as they never had a remit to save citizens on the mainland! But they are trained for Hostage Rescue - as they may have to deal with it aboard oil rigs and ships.

Image

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby SandeepS » 30 Nov 2015 19:30

Some interesting insights into 9 Para (SF)'s AO, SF probation and operations in Kashmir

(http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/vc5nVpr ... orces.html)

On the morning of 26 August, a sunny, warm day, the 9 Para were called in. They had been waiting for this call. Three days earlier, on being tipped off that a group of five militants was moving through the forests of Kazi Nag, high up in the Uri area of north Kashmir, the army and Jammu and Kashmir Police had launched an operation. Moving in a large cordon, the soldiers had closed in on the militant group by 25 August. A gun battle ensued, and one militant was shot down. Four others escaped, moving across a ridge line on to higher, more rugged terrain. They were armed well, and moving fast.

At their base in north Kashmir, members of the 9 Para, the Special Forces (SF) unit of the army trained specifically for quick engagements in formidable mountain areas, got ready. Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami was his usual cheerful self, checking on others in his team, making sure the men were carrying the correct weapons and gear. Self-assured and soft-spoken, Goswami could, in his quiet way, inspire both calm and confidence. Goswami was not tall, but he was big-boned and lean, a trained mountaineer, and, as his commanding officer described him, “a happy mix of humility and deep power”.

Minutes later, a small assault team, Goswami with them, was airborne. They were dropped by helicopter—“hepter”, in army language—to the place where the militants had been last sighted, more than 9,000ft up in the mountain. The army and the police had cordoned off a large circumference around the area, and, according to the army, intercepted a radio call from the militants to their handler in Pakistan saying that they were surrounded. Picking their way carefully through thick forest, and then on to the higher, rocky reaches of the mountain, the team from 9 Para searched for the terrorists. It needed patience and caution. House-sized boulders surrounded them. There were deep caves on the mountain face. You could be ambushed from anywhere.

The 9 Para likes places like this: The boulder fields provide excellent cover, if you know how to move through them; but each one could also hold danger, a militant lurking behind it. By noon, there was contact. Moving slowly, silently, with infinite patience, the SF men spotted a foot jutting out of a cave.

Goswami, at the front of the assault team, called out a challenge. There was a burst of fire in return. Following the direction of fire, the 9 Para fired back.

“Ek koh laga hai”, Goswami said over the radio, “one of them has been hit”.

The cave system the militants were using as cover was complex, surrounded by rocks and trees and at a tricky elevation. When the bursts of fire died down, the men from 9 Para began to fan out, taking up ambush positions around the cave, sealing off exit routes.

Radios fell silent.

Then they waited. The sounds of the forest replaced the sound of gunfire; a drowsy hum of insects. At nightfall, a militant tried to break free, firing and running, and was shot down.

The 9 Para tightened their ambush positions, prepared to wait again. There was a brief downpour, drenching everything, and the night plunged into cold.

“You know what I hate the most in the world?” said G, an officer of the 9 Para, speaking to me later at their unmarked headquarters in Udhampur, just outside of Jammu (the members of the 9 Para spoke to me on conditions of anonymity). “Dew, man!”

“You hold your position, you stay perfectly still, for hours and hours. Your body hates you for it, but then it accepts it. Night falls, and it starts getting cold, and still it’s okay. But then, around 2 in the morning, the dew starts.

“We can’t wear any plastic layers because it makes noise. So the dew seeps in, it gets into everything, it goes into your bones slowly. And still you have to sit there, getting colder and colder. You can’t even sneeze. I hate dew, man!”

That night, the wind grew too, chilling the already soaked men further. Goswami and the men ate a couple of puris with pickle deep in the night, a frugal dinner.

At daybreak, communicating silently with hand signals, the assault team broke cover and inched forward. They were met by a hail of fire. Bullets ricocheted off the boulders with deadly unpredictability. Then a couple of grenades flew in, bursting dangerously close, sending splinters flying. The militants too were cold, hungry, and cornered now, after four days of enduring the roughest of conditions. There was no more time left. They had been squeezed into the tightest of spots. One of them fired, and was shot back. There was a lull. One more down. Now two two-men teams got to the mouth of the cave. Goswami assumed a cover-fire position behind a rock. The advance teams now switched to non-lethal weapons, rolling in a couple of chilli grenades into the cave. It started to rain again. The two commandos outside the cave called out to the solitary militant inside. “Throw your weapons and come out, and we won’t kill you. You have no chance of coming out alive if you keep fighting.”

Weeping from the chilli grenades, cold, wet and emaciated, the last militant stepped out of the cave. It was still early in the day on 27 August.

At around the same time, hearing of the capture of the militant, the commanding officer (CO) of the 9 Para, a lean, angular man built like a marathon-runner, and with an unrelenting gaze that bores into you like a harpoon, went up to the 9 Para’s base of operations in north Kashmir. He congratulated his men, hung around to drink a cup of tea with them and left to meet the prisoner.

One of the militants killed had become a father recently back in Pakistan, the CO learnt, and so he asked the captured militant, 22-year-old Sajjad Ahmed from Muzaffargarh in south-west Pakistan and a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative, what would now happen to the fatherless child.

“He said ‘in jihad, no one has to take care of anybody’,” the CO told me. “When I asked him why he joined the jihad, he said that they were told that all Muslims in India live under terrible oppression and the situation is so bad that they are not allowed to do namaz.”

Ahmed is the third of four sons and a daughter born to landless farm labourers. When he was 10 years old, he dropped out of school to work as a farm hand. As teenagers, he and his brothers worked as labourers on construction sites, and then as a truck-driver’s help—a job notorious for being brutal and abusive. Ahmed moved to a more lucrative trade, working with a drug gang that ran heroin. In 2008, when he was 16, Ahmed was arrested for murder—he allegedly shot a man who was said to be harassing a friend’s sister. He was bailed out by the girl’s family. He fell in love with the girl, but was rejected by the family—she got married to a local vet instead. Ahmed developed a heroin habit himself, and began a life of homelessness. In 2011, he was acquitted in the murder case. A year later, Ahmed told army investigators that he met a preacher from the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a politico-religious organization under whose umbrella the LeT operates. Here was food, shelter and a way out of addiction. He volunteered for armed training and quickly moved from Daura-e-Aam, or basic combat training, to Daura-e-Suffa, or intermediate training, and finally, Daura-e-Khaas, advanced training. He tried once in 2013 to infiltrate through the line of control (LoC), but was rebuffed, he told the army. He lived on an LeT stipend. His parents and brothers did not want him to join the LeT, but were glad for the money and the prestige it brought them, Ahmed told the army. They are desperately poor, he said.

“It’s a cruel world,” the CO told me, with the weight of a deeply felt conviction. “We don’t think of militants as evil—enemies, yes, but not evil. We know the conditions they come from, and if we were put in their situation, we would probably do the same. But the world is cruel, society is hard; if women can’t step out at night in our country’s Capital without the fear of being raped...well...evil is a complicated concept.”

The CO of the 9 Para is a thoughtful man who chooses his words carefully. He exudes a sense of calm and the twitch of a man capable of hard, decisive action all at the same time. He does not wear his epaulettes, or the maroon beret that marks a soldier out as part of the Special Forces. Like his men, he shows no signs of fatigue, and no dip in intensity, though he may have been working without rest for 14 hours. He comes from a farming family, and his father is a retired infantry officer—“I was fascinated by the army right from my early childhood,” he says. He has two sons of his own, aged 8 and 3. When he was training at the National Defence Academy (NDA), he met some instructors from Special Forces, and his fascination grew deeper.

“They were seriously tough nuts, no fear at all,” he says. “I had the self-conception of being tough as well, and fearless, and I thought this is what I really want to do.” He volunteered for SF training. In 2001, he became an SF officer. Next year, Goswami joined the SF and the two met for the first time.

The CO likes to think of himself as a wolf; he took the call sign Lupus in his earlier days. “An SF guy has to be like a wolf,” he says. “A wolf lays ambushes, can pursue its prey for miles and miles over days, is tremendously resilient, and very, very loyal to its family.” A team commander christened him Adolphus, “noble wolf”. A strangely loaded name.

The 9 Para enjoy the reputation of being the toughest of India’s SF battalions—of which there are seven in all—and think of themselves, without exception, as warriors to the core. They are not commandos, they will tell you—their training is far more specialized.

They go through a nine-month course at the Special Forces training centre in Nahan, Himachal Pradesh, and then have a further three months of probation—more advanced training—at whichever SF battalion they join.

The probation period has a special place of pride. More than 90% of those who volunteer for SF training drop out by the end of probation. The details of the training, as I was told over and over again, are classified.

“Let’s just say,” says G, “that you never, ever forget probation.”

Apart from specialized weapons training and tactical warfare training, the men of the 9 Para are put through a tremendous amount of physical and psychological stress.

“We are pushed till we break, that’s the aim,” says G, a lanky, lean man with the slightly awkward, forward-leaning lope of a mountaineer who talks and moves in speedy bursts. Like most of the 9 Para, he keeps a scraggly, long beard. The SF are the only ones in the army allowed this luxury; it also helps them blend in their area of operations.

“It’s about honesty,” G says. “So one of the things that we are put through during probation is sleep deprivation while training. I went without sleep for 11 days. After the fourth or fifth day, I would nod off anywhere, standing, sitting, while talking...and someone would prod me to keep me awake. Was I cold? Was I tired? Did I hurt? Was I wet? I don’t remember.

“So I ask you now, ‘are you honest?’ And you will say, ‘yes, of course’. I will ask you that again after the full deprivation.”

The 9 Para are also trained in combat free fall, or CFF, which involves learning both Halo (high altitude low opening) and Haho (high altitude high opening) parachute jumps. Or you could specialize in combat diving. They are called to fish out bodies from rivers in Kashmir after car and bus accidents with disturbing regularity. As we were talking, G responded to a call about a bus that had fallen into the Chenab. A combat diving team was sent out.

The 9 Para are in a constant state of battle. Their task is largely to prevent infiltrating militants from getting to populated areas, or setting up a base of operations inside Kashmir. “You don’t want a major gun-battle or bombs going off in a civilian area, so we work non-stop to contain the infiltrators,” the CO says. When there is intelligence of terrorist movement in the mountains and forests of north Kashmir, the 9 Para are called in (two other SF units also operate in Kashmir, the 1 Para and 4 Para). When Goswami and his colleagues captured Ahmed, it was his second operation in as many weeks.

From January this year till 1 November, there have already been 20 encounters with militants, resulting in the death of 53 insurgents, 22 army personnel, and four civilians, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (and this is not counting ceasefire violations along the LoC, which is a headache for the normal army). On 23 August, in an encounter on the outskirts of a village in the Handwara region, a team of 9 Para, including Goswami, gunned down three militants.

“We are either in an op (operation), or preparing for one, or coming back from one,” the CO says.

In this frenzied state, death is always a close companion.

The CO officer recalls a breathless operation from his early days, a pursuit he was leading through dense forests in heavy fog. At one point, already well into the encounter, and looking for the scattered militants, the CO slipped on a ledge and broke his fall by grabbing a bush. The militants were right under him. Before they could figure out what had happened, the CO had pulled himself up. The next second, a grenade looped up towards him and fell between his legs.

“I looked at it, and froze,” he says. “My buddy started saying, ‘phenko, phenko, phenko’—‘throw it, throw it, throw it’—so I threw it down without thinking. It went off less than a couple of feet under me.”

“We will go to death with our eyes closed,” says an officer from Bihar who shares G’s scraggly bearded look and rapid-fire speech, over dinner one night.

“Perhaps I will go with my eyes open,” says G, and laughs.

Then they show me a video on their cellphone of a Halo dive when G’s parachute was not opening.

“My buddy on the jump was shouting at me, are you filming? Are you filming? And I’m like, ****** this, is this the end?”

You could see the farm-gridded land coming up rapidly and jerkily in the footage, and, in the distance, the other jumper gliding down, parachute open. Finally, heart-stoppingly close to the ground, G’s parachute opens. You can hear him sucking in his breath in relief.

G, 26, is the son of a high-ranking officer in the army who was staunchly opposed to his son’s choice of volunteering for the SF. “We are misfits,” he says. “The army likes people who have a narrow bandwidth, you know, people who follow orders and don’t think beyond that. We have to think on our own, we have to be entirely independent. How else can you handle the fact that every week we are dropped into some vast, unknown forest area, on steep slopes, in complete darkness, and told, here, this is where you have to fight? I bet you not one of the SF officers will last in the regular army too long.”

On 2 September, just six days after Goswami had participated in the operation in the forests in Handwara, he was getting ready to go back into an operation in the same area. The army had already launched a search-and-cordon operation on the densely forested slopes near a village called Sochalwari in Kupwara after reports of militant movements. Two troops of the 9 Para—almost a 100 men—were inserted into the area just before dusk. Goswami was paired with Mahender Singh, a combat diver and mountaineer.

Goswami and Singh knew each other from their earliest days in the unit. When Goswami married in 2007, Singh had gone for the ceremony. When Goswami’s daughter was born two years later, Singh had gone to see her. Both Goswami and Singh come from villages with a military tradition. Goswami, whose father was in the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force, came from a farming family near Nainital. His father died when he was very young, but there was little doubt that Goswami too would take to the military. Singh had joined the 9 Para a couple of years before Goswami and comes from the Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan, a recruiting haven for the army. Singh’s elder brother Ram Niwas was in the 9 Para too, and, according to Singh, picked him up and dragged him to the army’s recruiting centre in Agra after he finished schooling.

“I had no choice, really,” Singh says.

The day of the 2 September operation, Singh says Goswami was raring to go, even after two back-to-back operations. “He had just come back from a rare holiday, so he just wanted to be in action,” Singh says.

When they got to the village, the 9 Para were shown the area where an unknown number of militants were thought to be hiding. Ahead of them was an area of very dense undergrowth, sloping steeply upwards into denser forests of deodar, chinar, spruce, birch and juniper, criss-crossed by lots of mountain streams. Even in clear daylight, anyone could hide in the forest and not be seen. The men of the 9 Para began their patient search. Darkness fell.

At around 8 at night, deep in the forest, the SF men saw and heard something moving around a 100m ahead of them.

“Movement,” the call went out on the radio.

A challenge was made by one of the SF men: “Tham! (Stop!)”

A burst of gunfire came their way. They fired back, fell into cover positions. Then came the wait. After a few hours, a small assault team started to inch forward. At around midnight, Singh and Goswami and four other men began a manoeuvre to cut off the likeliest exit route for the militants.

“We were seeing only through the night-vision sights of our rifles,” Singh says. “Inside a dense forest like that, it’s extremely hard to spot anything through the sights. You cannot see a man, only catch the movement really.”

The 9 Para were in the trickiest of positions, boxed into a single forested slope, all sight lines hidden by trees. Sensing that the soldiers were closing in, the militants began lobbing grenades.

“That’s when we knew we were very close to them—not more than 60m,” says Singh. “They were just a little above us in the forest.”

Two of the men in Singh’s team got hit by splinters, and one began to bleed. Goswami and Singh were immediately by their side. The militants started firing.

“So now we were seeing where the terrorists were, by the flash of their guns” Singh says. “They were to our right and to our left, just above us.”

Goswami gave cover-fire as Singh worked to extricate the two injured men. One militant was shot down by Goswami. As he was moving out, a bullet hit Singh. Goswami saw the flare of the gun and took a shot in the direction. A second militant was down. Goswami kept up a steady stream of cover-fire.

“Don’t come closer, I will extricate myself,” Singh told the others in his team over the radio.

“My upper body felt perfectly fine,” Singh says. “I was firing, I was talking on the radio, but my legs had lost all sensation. I sensed that my legs were swelling up rapidly, and my knees were moving any which way. I told Goswami that I’m rolling out.”

As Singh slid himself down towards safety, Goswami kept firing in short bursts in the direction of the militants, while other members of the unit moved towards him. Now a bullet hit Goswami in the right thigh. He fired back. Another bullet hit him, this one in the abdomen. He kept firing. The last militant went down. The firing stopped. It was around 3 in the morning. Within minutes, his colleagues were next to Goswami, carrying him down the mountain towards the road, where ambulances and other support vehicles and teams waited. Goswami died before they could get him to a vehicle.

Singh, who had been carried by his colleagues for more than an hour to be evacuated, had no idea what had happened. That very day he was stabilized at the army’s field hospital in Srinagar and then airlifted to the army hospital in New Delhi.

When I met Singh, a long scar ran down his stomach. The AK-47 bullet had entered from the left of the abdomen and exited from the right, hitting his liver, kidneys and vertebrae on the way. Though he has had three operations, he has no movement in his limbs from the waist down and has started physiotherapy. He was told of Goswami’s death only much later, after all his surgeries were over.

“I wake up some times and forget he is dead,” Singh says. “I start asking for him.”

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby sudeepj » 30 Nov 2015 21:27

“We can’t wear any plastic layers because it makes noise. So the dew seeps in, it gets into everything, it goes into your bones slowly. And still you have to sit there, getting colder and colder. You can’t even sneeze. I hate dew, man!”


A hydrophobic outer layer (like a synthetic fleece), wool inners and a hydrophobic base layer should solve this. You also get spray on 'water repellent' that makes a lot of clothes more water repellent.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 01 Dec 2015 00:42

SandeepS wrote:Some interesting insights into 9 Para (SF)'s AO, SF probation and operations in Kashmir

(http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/vc5nVpr ... orces.html)...


Thanks for this. The intensity of ops is probably second to only US special forces in Afghanistan.

Can a Spec Ops Command be raised for J&K theatre alone? Similar to JSOC. It may have:

1 Para SF
4 Para SF
9 Para SF
202 Sqn AA
MARCOS detachment
IAF Mi-17V5 squadron

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby sum » 01 Dec 2015 04:14

^^ Beautiful article....

Very TFTA tone and tenor for the article. Hope more such exploits of our SF are put across for people to be inspired with

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Raja Bose » 01 Dec 2015 06:17

ranjan.rao wrote:
Sid wrote:But rushing in without proper knowledge of area/map, in light of terrorist indiscriminate killings, shows raw courage. Other western SWATS would have cordoned off the area and waited hours just before they gate crashed.

This operation had surprises similar to Beslan school, where killings suddenly started and Alpha troops had little time to coordinate leading to high casualty figures among CT force. Though they are one of the best.

On a side note i remember one TOI report during 26/11 that they didnt have torchlights to find terrorists. Always wondered is it flawed reporting or true report, coz special forces guns sometimes have light. But i think this explains what happened that day better


Its DDM-itis. They had lights, weapons etc. The MARCOS had masks but didn't bring respirators. The MARCOS unlike the NSG were not on standby to do hostage rescue. You have to remember that only 16 MARCOS were provided in a moment's notice, 8 to a team so they had to decide between hostage rescue or killing the terrorists. They correctly decided to do the former. Even the NSG was tasked with first rescuing hostages and then killing terrorists. Of course that doesn't make for glamorous headlines for our idiot DDM.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby chandrabhan » 01 Dec 2015 07:13

My younger brother serves in 9 para.. 3rd generation soldier. My father was very proud of him and another one who joined Airforce. Now Nephew joined NDA 2 years back. Sometimes i wonder as if patriotism is baby of 'rurban' & rural youth like us. We pay in blood defending, fighting for this land & new studio talking heads consider us, the families just a statistics..

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rohitvats » 01 Dec 2015 08:19

Aditya G wrote:Can a Spec Ops Command be raised for J&K theatre alone? Similar to JSOC. It may have:

1 Para SF
4 Para SF
9 Para SF
202 Sqn AA
MARCOS detachment
IAF Mi-17V5 squadron


Only 9 Para SF has a permanent base in J&K in Udhampur (which is mentioned in the article). Its a carry over from the period when 9 Para SF was tasked for mountains, 10 Para SF for deserts (hence, located in Jodhpur) and 1 Para SF at Nahan was AHQ reserve.

Others like 4 Para would be rotating out of theater as a whole battalion or 'teams' like the 1 Para SF.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Yagnasri » 01 Dec 2015 10:02

chandrabhan wrote:My younger brother serves in 9 para.. 3rd generation soldier. My father was very proud of him and another one who joined Airforce. Now Nephew joined NDA 2 years back. Sometimes i wonder as if patriotism is baby of 'rurban' & rural youth like us. We pay in blood defending, fighting for this land & new studio talking heads consider us, the families just a statistics..


The families pay more. The dead have no pain the the living has to live with the loss for the rest of their life. The get little or no respect from the nation. They also have to see the degenerate state of the nation and the Cricket matches and aman ki ashas all around them. They have to hear Ayars, Abdullas day after day.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Manish_P » 01 Dec 2015 11:19

The dead have no pain the the living has to live with the loss for the rest of their life.


The wounded. Don't forget them.

Many of them permanently disabled, for the rest of their lives..

In another post today it was mentioned that an officer lost his lower jaw in anti-terrorist action.. imagine the horrific pain and difficulty he (and his family) will be in for the rest of his life.

Just try and imagine his pain the next time we have a simple glass of water... forget about a bite of that roti/burger/cake/chocolates whatever...

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 01 Dec 2015 13:29

Thanks Rohit

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby vishal » 01 Dec 2015 17:22

SandeepS wrote:Some interesting insights into 9 Para (SF)'s AO, SF probation and operations in Kashmir

(http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/vc5nVpr ... orces.html)
That night, the wind grew too, chilling the already soaked men further. Goswami and the men ate a couple of puris with pickle deep in the night, a frugal dinner.

At daybreak, communicating silently with hand signals, the assault team broke cover and inched forward. They were met by a hail of fire.


So, basically, our SF guys don't have NVG's for all ops. Even for these guys there are more operators than NVGs.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby HKumar » 01 Dec 2015 20:53

No NVGs, no wet weather combat clothing , surviving on puri and pickle .... and balls the size of basket balls :)

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Karan M » 01 Dec 2015 21:07

A 100 T-90s would have bought BPJs and NVGs for regiments. But hey, those parade ground pieces which don't even work are more important. Talk about misplaced priorities.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rohitvats » 02 Dec 2015 08:36

Karan M wrote:A 100 T-90s would have bought BPJs and NVGs for regiments. But hey, those parade ground pieces which don't even work are more important. Talk about misplaced priorities.


That is a specious argument...do you know the percentage of tanks which suffer from TI issue during ops? 10%, 20%, 30%? And what with Tank versus BPJ argument? Would it hold if IA had ordered 100 Arjun tanks instead of T-90? Further, perusal of media reports tells me that the issue of BPJ has been stuck in bureaucratic quagmire and not exactly because of lack of funds. Or, misplaced priorities, as you call them.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Thakur_B » 02 Dec 2015 08:47

rohitvats wrote:
Karan M wrote:A 100 T-90s would have bought BPJs and NVGs for regiments. But hey, those parade ground pieces which don't even work are more important. Talk about misplaced priorities.


That is a specious argument...do you know the percentage of tanks which suffer from TI issue during ops? 10%, 20%, 30%? And what with Tank versus BPJ argument? Would it hold if IA had ordered 100 Arjun tanks instead of T-90? Further, perusal of media reports tells me that the issue of BPJ has been stuck in bureaucratic quagmire and not exactly because of lack of funds. Or, misplaced priorities, as you call them.


Well according to latest reports, all 6 vendors failed in technical requirements for BPJ, indicating that the sqrs were again a tad too high.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby tsarkar » 02 Dec 2015 09:38

vishal wrote:
That night, the wind grew too, chilling the already soaked men further. Goswami and the men ate a couple of puris with pickle deep in the night, a frugal dinner. At daybreak, communicating silently with hand signals, the assault team broke cover and inched forward. They were met by a hail of fire.
So, basically, our SF guys don't have NVG's for all ops. Even for these guys there are more operators than NVGs.

Where does the quoted narrative indicate there was no NVG? If you came to the conclusion because they waited for the night and attacked in the morning, then there is a reason for that.

NVG's have very limited field of view. When you don't know accurate disposition of enemy forces, and with your own forces in greater numbers cordoning the area, then its best to wait for daylight when identification & situational awareness is much better.

HKumar wrote:No NVGs, no wet weather combat clothing , surviving on puri and pickle
Karan M wrote:A 100 T-90s would have bought BPJs and NVGs for regiments. But hey, those parade ground pieces which don't even work are more important. Talk about misplaced priorities.

NVG's require batteries. Longer the duration of the patrol or operation, more batteries need to be carried. All of which increases the load of soldier which impacts mobility & agility. Which is why only some and not all carry gizmos.

Before concluding that there is unavailability of gizmos, please validate if the soldier is not carrying the gizmo by his own personal choice.

Please also validate if he is eating the puri out of his personal culinary choice instead of availability or purchasing ability of energy bars.

Read the Battle of Takar Gur, where US reinforcements discarded their BPJ because it affected their ability to climb up the mountain.
Last edited by tsarkar on 02 Dec 2015 09:46, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Prem Kumar » 02 Dec 2015 09:45

Thakur_B wrote:Well according to latest reports, all 6 vendors failed in technical requirements for BPJ, indicating that the sqrs were again a tad too high.


If true, that's a serious indictment of the way SQRs are framed by the Army - yet again. Asking for unobtanium when basic jackets are unavailable or are too bulky that troops prefer to not wear them to retain mobility. Parikkar in his latest interview to Nitin Gokhale makes exactly this point - his new DPP is going to have some sanity checks on SQRs

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Prem Kumar » 02 Dec 2015 09:47

Tsarkar: NVG non-use/availability in that op was from the statement that the SF could only spot the terrorists based on the flashes from their AKs


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