Para is a special forces unit of the Indian Army’s Parachute Regiment and one of the best special force unit we have in India.
A Para SF soldier is identified by Maroon Beret, shoulder titles, and the “Balidaan” badge. They say when a soldier wears Maroon Beret he doesn’t have to speak for himself, it speaks volumes about the men and his skills.
All Indian paratroopers are volunteers. Some enter the Para regiments fresh from recruitment, while others transfer in from regular army units.
Pre Commission – Volunteer GCs from IMA/OTA will be commissioned at the scale of two officers per battalion per year. These officers will be allotted a parent regiment by MS Branch.
Post Commission – Officers from all Arms and Services can volunteer for the Parachute Regiment subject to them having less than five years service on the day they volunteer, being in medical category SHAPE-I and being graded ‘EXCELLENT’ in BPET. These officers will retain their affiliated to their Regiment/Corps (as parent regiment).
The intense selection procedure –
The volunteered officers are put through a probationary period/selection process of three months for Paratroopers (Airborne) Battalions (5,6,7) and six months for Para (Special Forces) battalions (1,2,3,4,9,10,11,12,21 PARA), in order to be a Para (Special Forces) all personnel are first required to qualify as Paratroopers.
Once selected the candidates may choose to advance to the SF selection, which takes place twice a year in the spring and the autumn term. It is one of the longest and toughest training regiments in world where the applicant is exposed to sleep deprivation, humiliation, exhaustion, and mental and physical torture. Deaths have been reported during this selection process. The attrition rate is very high, and selection rarely exceeds 10 percent.
Even though a candidate may have cleared selection, he is not formally inducted into the regiment until completion of the balidan padhwhere, after training, a candidate is involved in active operations in a hostile zone for a year. Provided the candidate survives the balidan padh, he is given the balidan badge and formally inducted into the regiment.