In the world of military , no one captures our attention as well as the Special Forces do. They are the elite breed of selected few who are chosen to do the task the others cannot. Trained for various missions such as guerrilla warfare, reconnaissance, rescue, and counterterrorism. These men undergo a grueling probation which takes toll of their physical stamina , mental condition and after all this they earn the “Special Forces” tag.
The training , equipments and especially the courage and will to do anything for their motherland makes them special. Indian Special Forces are recognized to be one of the best across the world having served not only in some of the most hostile zones in India but also outside India , a capability vey countries can boast off.
However many of us seem to get confused while identifying Indian Special Forces. Sometimes we see people calling commandos dressed in black as NSG or men in Digital Camo as MARCOS. Indian Special Forces use much varied uniforms and camo patterns according to the terrain they operate in.
I will try to give a insight on their uniforms and combat gear they use during missions which will help you in identifying them correctly.
1)Para SF :-
Para SF uses more than 20 different types of camouflage patterns for missions in any type of terrain. Usually
You will see Para SF equipped with TAR-21 , GTAR-21 , M4A1 and AK rifles. The easiest way to identify Para SF from MARCOS and Garuds is by looking at the sights. Para SF use ITL MARS sight on their Tavors whereas MARCOS and Garuds use Mepro Mor sights on their Tavor. Para SF also use Type 89 Light Machine Gun ( a Chinese version of the famous PK Light Machine Gun ) and they use Galatz and SVD Dragunov rifles as snipers.
During official ceremonies , they sport a Maroon Beret with their iconic Balidaan Badge and with Para Wings which show they are Para-jump qualified.
Para SF operate in various terrains from jungles to thousand of metres above sea level. They also operate in deserts and many Para operatives are also trained in amphibious warfare where you will see them looking like MARCOS.
In deserts they use lizard pattern camo with lighter tones to merge with the the scenario.
2) MARCOS :-
Indian Navy MARCOS sport the unique digital camouflage and also black uniform during close quarter battles and urban warfare. Trained to do missions in every terrain , be it land , sea or air , they have seen combat in Kashmir , Sri Lanka , Maldives and during Anti-Piracy operations in Arabian Sea. They are usually spotted with TAR-21 , GTAR-21 , MP5 and AK-103 with Mepro Mor Sights which distinguish them from Para SF who use MARS sight on their Tavors.
Helmets are also a distinguishing feature as MARCOS uses P2 Viper and PASGT helmets during operations while Para SF are usually seen with ACH and Patka helmets .
3) Garuds :-
Indian Air Force Garud Commandos are the youngest Indian Special Forces and they have seen limited action in Kashmir , anti-Naxal ops and Pathankot attack.
Garuds first sported a black beret equipped with INSAS rifles who were tasked for defending air bases from any sort of militant attack. Later they sported the maroon beret and are usually spotted with Israeli-made Tavors. Just like Para SF and MARCOS they use GTAR-21 , TAR-21 and STAR-21. However Garuds are the only Indian Special Force to use the shorter-barrel CTAR-21 also. They use Mepro Mor on their Tavors which distinguish them from Para SF. They also use Nimrod Sights on their STAR-21.
Usually you will see them with Boonie hats during Air Shows. They also have a varied camo patterns which helps them to operate in every terrain just like Para SF.
In official uniform, you would see the “Garud Force Patch” worn on the sleeve. They have a Garud Winged Badge which is gold in colour and worn on the left chest, similar to where pilot/aircrew wings are worn.
4) National Security Guards :-
They are the elite Federal Contingency deployment Force which are tasked to conduct anti hijack operations, and rescue operations. They are called the “black cats” due to their trademark black uniform which they use while conducting operations. They are one of the best trained units in the country and are equipped with MP5 , Sauger rifles , PSG-1 sniper rifles and more. This makes them much distinct to other Indian special forces not only in roles and performance but also in weapons.
NSG is not a proper special forces as it is not trained to conduct behind-the-line operations which the other three special forces are capable off. However NSG has Special Action Group (SAG) whose operatives are drawn from Army itself. All NSG operatives sport a SAG badge which is a trident with wings.