The Indian Army is the land-based branch and the largest component of Indian Armed Forces. The units and regiments of the Indian Army have diverse histories and have participated in a number of battles and campaigns across the world, earning a large number of battle and theatre honours before and after Independence. The primary mission of the Indian Army is to ensure national security and national unity, defending the nation from external aggression and internal threats, and maintaining peace and security within its borders.
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces. The primary objective of the navy is to safeguard the nation’s maritime borders, and in conjunction with other Armed Forces of the union, act to deter or defeat any threats or aggression against the territory, people or maritime interests of India, both in war and peace. Through joint exercises, goodwill visits and humanitarian missions, including disaster relief, Indian Navy promotes bilateral relations between nations.
Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) works under Department of Defence Research and Development of Ministry of Defence. DRDO dedicatedly working towards enhancing self-reliance in Defence Systems and undertakes design & development leading to production of world class weapon systems and equipment in accordance with the expressed needs and the qualitative requirements laid down by the three services.
DRDO is working in various areas of military technology which include aeronautics, armaments, combat vehicles, electronics, instrumentation engineering systems, missiles, materials, naval systems, advanced computing, simulation and life sciences. DRDO while striving to meet the Cutting edge weapons technology requirements provides ample spinoff benefits to the society at large thereby contributing to the nation building.
The Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) in Vairengte, Mizoram, India is a training and research establishment of the Indian Army specialising in unconventional warfare, especially counter-insurgency and guerrilla warfare. CIJWS is one of the premier counter-insurgency training institutions in the world. The school’s motto is to “fight the guerrilla like a guerrilla”.
The Rashtriya Rifles or RR (translation: National Rifles) is a branch of the Indian Army under the authority of the Indian Ministry of Defence. The RR is a counter-insurgency force made up of soldiers deputed from other parts of the Indian Army. The force is currently deployed in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Special Operations Units
The National Security Guard (NSG) is an Indian special forces unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). It was raised in 1984, following Operation Blue Star and the assassination of Indira Gandhi, “for combating terrorist activities with a view to protect states against internal disturbances”.
The unit’s heritage stems from World War II, with the creation of the 50th Parachute Brigade in October 1941. 9 Para SF, raised in 1966 as 9th Parachute Commando Battalion, is the oldest among the eight Para SF units of the Indian Army.
The unit is tasked with missions such as special operations, direct action, hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, counter-proliferation, counter-insurgency, seek and destroy and personnel recovery.
The Marine Commandos, abbreviated to MARCOS and officially called the Marine Commando Force (MCF), is the special forces unit of the Indian Navy that is responsible for conducting special operations. MARCOS was founded in February 1987. MARCOS are capable of operating in all types of environments; at sea, in air and on land. The force has gradually acquired experience and an international reputation for professionalism. The MARCOS regularly undertake specialised maritime operations in Jammu and Kashmir through the Jhelum River and Wular Lake, a 65 square kilometres (16,000 acres) freshwater lake, and conduct counter-insurgency operations in the region. MARCOS are reputedly called the Dadhiwala Fauj (The Bearded Army) by terrorists in Kashmir, owing to their bearded disguise.
The Garud Commando Force is the special forces unit of the Indian Air Force. It was formed in September 2004 and has a current strength of approximately 1080 personnel. The unit derives its name from Garuda, a divine bird-like creature of Hindu Mythology. Garud is tasked with the protection of critical Air Force bases and installations; search and rescue during peace and hostilities and disaster relief during calamities.
The Special Frontier Force (SFF) is an Indian special force unit created on 14 November 1962. It mainly comprises Tibetian refugees living in India. Its primary goal originally was to conduct covert operations behind Chinese lines in the event of another Sino-Indian War. Throughout its history, SFF has fought in India’s major external wars including the Bangladesh Liberation War and the Kargil War. It has also been involved in internal security, including Operation Blue Star and also serving as the “Personal Force” of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to suppress opposition parties during the state of emergency from 1975 to 1977. It has been part of border operations against China, including the 2020 China–India skirmishes.
The Indian Army’s Special Forces Training School is the training institution for Indian Army special forces, based at Nahan, a hill town in Himachal Pradesh. It is the largest and most important training institution for special forces in India. The Indian Army conducts joint special forces exercises and training with the special forces of countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, Sri Lanka, Russia, France, Bangladesh and Thailand at this school.
The Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force of India. The unit can trace its lineage back to a paramilitary police force that was formed under the British in 1835 called Cachar Levy. Since then the Assam Rifles have undergone a number of name changes—the Assam Frontier Police (1883), the Assam Military Police (1891) and Eastern Bengal and Assam Military Police (1913), before finally becoming the Assam Rifles in 1917. Over the course of its history, the Assam Rifles and its predecessor units have served in a number of roles, conflicts and theatres including World War I where they served in Europe and the Middle East, and World War II where they served mainly in Burma. In the post World War II period the Assam Rifles has expanded greatly as has its role. There are currently 46 battalions of Assam Rifles with a sanctioned strength of 63,747 personnel.
Force One is an elite commando force, which is a specialised counter terrorism unit to guard the Mumbai metropolitan area, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, formed by Government of Maharashtra on the lines of National Security Guards (NSG). It was formed under Maharashtra Police, as a response to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) is a special police force in several states of India including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar. In Maharashtra it is headed by senior of the Indian Police Service. The squad has stopped several terrorist attacks in the country.
ATS was founded in Maharashtra in 1990 by then Additional Commissioner of Mumbai Police Aftab Ahmed Khanpopularly known as A.A. Khan. He was inspired by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT) teams methods to combat modern-day terrorism. Since its formation in 1990, ATS’s officers have won 23 gallantry awards. The Mumbai ATS was involved in the 26 November 2008 hostage rescue operations in multiple locations in Mumbai, Maharashtra including the 5 star hotels Taj and Oberoi Trident. After the attacks, it also started appointing children (ages above 12) as officers of ATC, particularly in Mumbai, which were given training as undercover.
MKU (originally incorporated as M Kumar Udyog) is an Indian defence company headquartered in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. The company manufactures protection and surveillance range of equipment, including ballistic helmets, armour inserts, bulletproof vests, and electro-optical devices like night vision binoculars and monoculars.