Before you proceed with this article we would like to admit that this is a partial article .We have left things patchy on purpose,since there has always remain a veil of secrecy over Special Group ,it is for the general good of our nation that the mystery remain.Do keep in mind that this is not the final or end to the information regarding Special Group from us.We will keep on providing you with many interesting tit bits and photos of them in the future.
Today we’re going to travel into the dark world of the most elite unit of India and become more cognizant about how this unit came into being, how its personnel are selected and what kind of operation they actually carry out.
“They don’t exist for acclaim to fame,
They don’t exist so that we can”
Mavericks, 4th Vikas ever heard these names?... These are the few sobriquets of the most elite unit of INDIA. The 4th battalion aka 4th vikas, Establishment 22(Special Frontier Force) is currently the only unit in India which classifies to be the Tier 1 unit.
Now let us descend into the history and begin from the point where this unit came into being.
The Director General (DG) Security, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) in 1982 dispatched 500 SFF operatives along with over 500 Indian Army special forces to Sarsawa for Counter Terrorist training.During the early 1983 six officers from the SG paid a visit to a secret base of Sayeret Matkal (Israel’s finest Special Forces) and trained there for 22 days and this experience was further inculcated in its training. These men formed the nucleus of an ultra-elite and highly classified new detachment, known as the Special Group. It is a volunteer force and persons are inducted only after a very tough probation and selection process. These men now detached from the usual chain of army command took orders from the cabinet secretariat or secretary (research). This unit’s existence was denied for many years but was lately accepted.
The SFF Special Group's headquarters is supported by an Intelligence and Planning wing, a Training wing and a specialist Signals Troop which is solely responsible for support operations. Having four squadrons each made up of around 100 troopers, which are further divided into four troops. Each troop has a specialized role. The Special Group has a wide range of responsibilities, each requiring specific training and disciplines.Beside combat and covert ops they are also actively involved in intelligence gathering.
Special Group is also the parent unit of elite National Security Guards (NSG). The NSG was raised after SG participated in Operation Bluestar. It was thought that a paramilitary force not under the Ministry of Defence should be used for counter terrorism operations internally. The NSG is thus led by an IPS officer and comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs, even though the commandos who lead operations are themselves from the army.
After the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984, a review was undertaken by a Committee of Secretaries and it was decided to entrust security of the Prime Minister to the Special Group under unitary and direct control of a designated Officer.These decisions were taken as short term measures. On 18th February 1985, the Birbal Nath Committee went into the issue in its entirety and submitted its recommendations for raising a Special Protection Unit (S.P.U.).99 Accordingly on 30th March 1985, the President of India created 819 posts for the unit under the Cabinet Secretariat. The SPU was then re-christened, Special Protection Group, and the post of I.G.P. was re-designated as Director.
The Special Group, along with the Special Protection Group (SPG) were the pioneers at close protection (CP) duties in India, having developed many of the protocols themselves, unique to the Indian subcontinent.
The main areas of training of the Special Group are :
Mountain: Experts in mountain and Arctic warfare, these men are trained to survive and fight in extreme conditions. Mountain troops' skills can be called on anywhere from the Siachen Glacier to the Himalayan ranges in the east. They are also known to have trained in the famed German Alpine Guides course at the Mountain Warfare School at Mittenwald and the High Altitude Warfare School at Gulmarg reaching proficiency levels that rival the best climbers in the world.
Amphibious: These troop's combat divers are the outfit's amphibious experts. In essence, it provides a comparable amphibious warfare capability to the SFF as the MARCOS provide to the Indian Navy.
Air : Air Troop is the Special Group's free-fall parachuting specialists, tasked with jumping behind enemy lines, either on their own missions or to pave the way for other squadron troops. Air Troop also employ less conventional forms of air insertion such as micro-lites and powered parachutes. For HALO/HAHO combat jumps skydivers use square -type RAM parachutes which are more maneuverable also allow for softer, controlled landings than the standard round chutes.
Jungle warfare: Jungle operations are considered to be one of the toughest in the world and more men here fall to nature than the enemy. The Special Group's Jungle troopers are the masters in jungle craft. They are skilled at carrying out deep interdiction and search and destroy operations for extended periods of time.
Hand to hand combat -the personal of SG are expert fighters even with their bare hands .They undergo rigorous training in various martial arts which transform their body into a lethal weapon.Pekiti-Tirsia Kali and Krav Maga are few among the various martial arts these operators have perfected and hone their skills with.A SG personal becomes so adept in these that he becomes a living ,breathing and walking weapon himself,he is capable of ending a life in mere three seconds with his bare hands.
Weapons and gear -
Special Group is the force of Cabinet Secretariat,they have unlimited fund at their disposal ,there is no dearth of money.Whatever they require or wish for is provided to them ,as a result they have wide array of equipments and weapons in their inventory,some of them only available to them in the entire nation.We can't reveal everything as it is highly classified .
Still here is a glimpse of their weapons (Do note that these are just few and not all the weapons in their inventory)-
Primary weapon (Assault rifles) Tavor,Galil ace,Scar,M4,AK,styer aug etc
Side arm IWI 941 Jericho and few more
Helmet - Ballistic FAST helmet,Advance combat helmet,Patka etc.Their helmets have provision of all type of accessory and have comms integrated into them.
Vest - they have a wide variety of vest with the latest modular variety of it being available to them ,including the ones which are not present with anyone else in our country.
Weapon optics - A variety of optics found worldover is present with them ,to name a few -eotech holographic sight ,aim point,acog ,Mepro etc
Uniform and combat fatigue - They wear all black combat dress ,but depending on the situation and terrain requirements they have a wide array of combat dress available to them in different camo pattern.
Now talking about their operations…
RAW had all its bases covered, except one. It still felt the need for a very small unit of highly elite Special Forces soldiers and officers. This unit would carry out what is commonly known as “black ops”, an oft-used euphuism for selective operations with total and absolute deniability. These operations would be so sensitive and secret that the Government of India would never own up to them. It would bluntly deny any knowledge of the operation. This unit would not exist on paper. It would be a “ghost unit”.-Major Gaurav Arya.
Well there is literally nothing known about their operations from the time these guys were raised to the current date except for Operation blue star, it is believed that SG operatives masquerading as pilgrims entered the golden temple and gathered essential intelligence about the layout of the temple. Special Group teams regularly conduct CT operations in troubled Kashmir against militants on specific intelligence inputs.There are 3 operational Units and 1 reserve or TB battalion. Out of the operational units one is permanently deployment for counter Insurgency ops and rotates among itself for foreign deployment famous being the military advisers of Northern alliance against Taliban in 90s
Speculations or conspiracy theories do impeach this unit for its role in some infamous clandestine operations but fact of the matter is that none of it can neither be confirmed nor denied, that’s how these guys work.
Although all the raids and operations of Special Group remain under a thick veil of secrecy and anonymity ,still ,we can tell you about a revenge raid carried out by them.Which was in direct response to a very famous case of beheading carried out by Pakistani BAT at the LOC.In the cross border raid carried out by them they had assassinated the Hizbul Mujahideen Commander responsible for the beheading along with four of his bodyguards in Pakistan.(We will write an article about this raid in future)
But suffice to say that while the world has recently heard the term such as surgical strikes or Seal team ops killing Osama Bin Laden, SG guys are doing this for decades.
How to identify these guys?
Well this might be the question that must be troubling you right? How to know whether this guy belongs to SG, during combat deployment it is impossible to ID these guys, they might look like normal infantry men or a general Kashmiri. The only way to identify these guys is with the help of the Special Group badge(PHOTO ATTACHED BELOW) .A soldier sporting this badge has definitely served in the SG, many brave officers and men who served in SG are now in public domain like Major Udai Singh (martyr),Major Amit Deswal (martyr) and lance naik Om Prakash(martyr).(Photos attached below)
What makes these guys so SPECIAL?
The personnel selected for this unit is ought to be one of the finest in their respective battalions, their training is obscure, though the selection process for this unit is kept under tight wraps and so does the current strength, the men from this unit directly take orders from the PMO. They have hands on the most sophisticated and advance weaponry of the world, and their demand for any equipment is fulfilled as soon as possible.
Albeit this unit is one of the most secretive unit and we still accept its existence hesitantly but still it does not forgets to honor it’s fallen members,
Attached below is picture of the “Letter of condolence” written by the then Commanding Officer of SG to the family of Major Udai Singh.
Cross border raids is a regular routine for these guys , operations undertook by them and their activities are so secret that even the army is not aware about these most of the time. The high risk ops are so covert and against such odds, that many a time it may put a fictional novel to shame.But these things have never come out and never will(though we might reveal some). These guys are not some superheroes wearing capes, but normal men who stand apart from the rest by the virtue of their determination ,will power and their "junoon"(madness) .These men are trained to the core and have perfected their abilities over the time.They have honed their skills under fire and have mastered the art of slaughtering .By constantly working under pressure they have stretched the limit of human mental toughness,physical abilities and prowess to its extreme .They have made the smell of burning human flesh and sight of fresh human blood part and parcel of their life.When it comes to facing high risk and grave danger to life ,these are the men nation look to.These are the men who form the tip of the spear ,while projecting India's power.They are ready to kill or die in the line of duty,without seeking any glory or fame,they fight tirelessly in the shadows,so that the Nation remains.
Pics included :-
1. #shatrujeet009 exclusive pic of SG operator
2. Old pic of SG operator
3. " killing ground" in PoK across LoC which was raided by SG and "others" back in 1998
4. Miscellaneous pics of SG martyrs
5 Condolence letter of the Special Group commander ,written to major Udai Singh Parents..
In the end we would like to thank an anonymous Ghost and the Guardian of Team Shatrujeet who helped us with his valuable inputs in writing this post.