Indian Air Force’s elite, Garud Commando Force had its two Commandos martyred in an encounter with Lashkar-e-Taiba militants in Bandipora district of Kashmir on Wednesday morning.
Sergeant K. Milind Kishor (33) was from Maharashtra and had joined the IAF in 2002. Corporal Nilesh Kumar Nayan (31), who joined the force in 2005, was from Bihar. The two commandos were training with the local Rashtriya Rifles unit and were killed in an encounter during a cordon-and-search operation in Bandipora’s Hajin village.
Here are a few things to enlighten you about the IAF’S elite, the Garud Commando Force.
2. The tasks of Garud involves the protection of critical Air Force bases, assets and installations; search and rescue during peace and hostilities and disaster management during calamities.
3. It was formed after an incident in 2001; the force felt it was needed. Four militants armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades in broad daylight tried infiltrating IAF’S Awantipur fighter base near Srinagar in, and were killed.
4. The two commandos killed this week were part of a squad, tasked to counter-terrorism duties. The Squad was linked with the army since August 2017.
5. For the first time Garuds have lost their lives encountering militants in Jammu and Kashmir. In 2016, Corporal Gursewak Singh was the first Garud commando who lost his life fighting terrorists during Pathankot terror attack.
6. The three armed forces have their own special force units. Garud is a special unit in the IAF. The army has its Para-special forces that have carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in September 2016. And Navy’s toughest fighting men, Marcos or marine commandos have their team posted in Kashmir’s Wular Lake.
7. IAF is planning to expand its commando wings with the induction of at least 10 more units of Garud commandos, having 70-80 men each.
8. The weapons used by the Garud Commandos include Glock pistols, Tavor TAR-21 assault rifles, Galil sniper rifles and Negev machine guns for their operations and rescue tasks.
9 . The basic training period to become a Garud commando is 72-week which is the longest among all the Indian Special Forces. Total duration for a trainee to qualify as a fully operational commando is 3 years.