How Good Is The Indian Special Force MARCOS ?

Hello Defence Lovers, Much about Indian Special Forces are not known to the general public. When it comes to a highly covert Special Forces unit such as MARCOS, not very much information is available outside. INS Karna, near Visakhapatnam is the only known permanent operating base for MARCOS inside the country.

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  • Training of MARCOS has been adapted from US Navy SEALs and British Royal Marines Commandos and the training is considered more rigorous than any standard Indian Army unit and even better than their Western counterparts. With 80% attrition rate only highly motivated individuals are inducted to the force. This shows the caliber of the personnel selected for this unit.
  • Those that clear the selection then start undergoing the grilling course which includes basic training at INS Abhimanyu in Mumbai. The trainees then train in para jumps at the Paratrooper Training School in Agra. This is followed by a diving course at Navy’s Diving School in Kochi.
  • After training MARCOS are believed to serve their units only for 3 to 5 years. This allows the unit to keep young blood. After this they may join other units. This facilitates to spread their operational experience to other units of Indian military through veterans.
  • MARCOS are one of the well equipped maritime forces in the world. Indian navy has initiated the procurement of the advanced integrated combat system. This includes equipment such as light-weight helmets, vests and weapons, to optimize the capabilities of these commandos.
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  • . MARCOS have high ability to blend into any community and move undetected in places where they are going to operate. Some MACROS operations are also known to be very similar to those of the Israeli undercover special warfare units called Mista’arvim.
  • During the Kargil War, MARCOS were tasked to undertake covert operations deep behind enemy lines. This proves their mountain warfare capabilities and expertise in disguise for asymmetric warfare.
  • A quick reaction team of MARCOS is present in Mumbai for safeguarding India’s Oil rigs in Bombay High. This speaks volumes of their capability to safeguard such strategically important installations. Lately they were deployed for the protection of Uran Naval base also.
  • MARCOS are known to have underwater covert operations training. Navy has also equipped them with more tools and machineries to help them in these endeavours.
  • MARCOS are known to be very secretive by not revealing their actual identity as specialised, elite soldiers. Thus even the units they are embedded in may not know their full capabilities. Such level of discretion may be used in highly sensitive operations. This also proves their ability to blend in and work flawlessly integrate with other units of Indian Military.


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  • MARCOS are known to work even with dynamic Intel (Intelligence which grows even during the operation). This was abundantly exemplified in Operation Cactus: India’s 1988 intervention in the Maldives, they approached Maldives with very low intelligence inputs and rescued a whole nation from terrorists’ siege. Not many Special Forces in the world can pull that off.
  • They have proficiency in foreign languages like Arabic, Mandarin so that they can gather foreign intelligence.
  • Most of the things are very secret even operations details and training strategy.

Conclusion: MARCOS has long way to go for to be considered among the best SF around the world. But still better training and equipment has rendered the quite effective in COIN ops.

Jai Hind

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