In the world of military , no one captures our attention as well as Special Forces. From hostage rescue to assault missions or reconnaissance they take on some of the hardest operations. Special Forces require Special Equipments and Special Tactics and that is what makes them Special , a cut-above the normal infantry soldiers and that allows them to take on any situation when the duty calls upon them. Indian Armed Forces following examples of other nations raised its Special Forces required to do Special Operations and perhaps the most known Indian Special Force is Indian Navy MARCOS.
MARCOS are elite Special Operations Force ( SOF ) of Indian Navy specialised for amphibious warfare , unconventional warfare , Close Quarter Combat , Hostage Rescue , counterproliferation , reconnaissance and Counter Terrorism. Formed in 1987 , they first saw action in Sri Lanka against LTTE Militants where in an operation to blow up the Jaffna jetty, saw MARCOS swim 12 kms to their target with their combat load in tow. They then slipped in without being detected and blew up the harbour with explosives. They were immediately fired upon by the LTTE. The commandos returned fire and managed to swim back to the ship without any casualties.
MARCOS then saw action in Maldives during Operation Cactus where they thwarted an attempted coup and also captured a boat with 46 mercenaries. MARCOS then saw action in Somalia with US Special Forces , Operation Tasha , Operation Zabardust and Operation Rakshak and also in Mumbai during 26/11 attacks where they were the first responders to the attack till NSG took up. They have also been deployed in many other ops including anti-piracy.
Pic : Indian Navy MARCOS outside INS Abhimanyu geared up for a mock mission
However they are known to operate in Kashmir , a disputed region between India and Pakistan where Pakistan has been known to push in terrorists and militants to engage Indian forces deployed there. MARCOS has also been deployed there since 1990s near the Wular Lake region where they guard the 250 km square region thwarting any infiltration in this region. In 1995, a team of MARCOS was positioned at the lake and within weeks, militant activity on the lake ceased.
Wular Lake, lying between Sopore and Bandipore, is the largest fresh water lake in India and it is surrounded by towering mountains. Fed by the Jhelum River , it is like a natural water reservoir. The strategic value of this lake lies in the fact that this provides the militants a convenient waterway to slip in the Kashmir region and merge with the local populace or sneak into Srinagar ( a main city in Kashmir region ) thus making it a hotbed for militant activity.
This warranted the need for a Marine Force to be deployed there and to answer this call of duty , MARCOS was roped in. Not only securing the lake they have also secured the villages in this region curbing any sort of militant activity here. They branched out the mountains here , scouring for militant hideouts and hunting for them. The MARCOS' dexterity in the water compensates for the shortfalls of the Army.
MARCOS personnel also keep beards and remain in disguise here by wearing Pheran ( a traditional dress worn by men and women alike ) so that they can blend in with the local populace here due to which they are known by locals as "Dadhiwala fauz". They are the "Crocs of the Wular Lake".
Here we will recount one such story of a Marine Commando Aadesh Kumar SEA I CD III (220165-A) MARCOS (E) whose bravery during one such Counter-Terrorism operation set an exemplary example for his team mates .
MARCOS Operatives in Kashmir with the customary beard and traditional dress
The Inputs :~
On 11 Dec 2012, based on intelligence inputs of presence of 04-05 militants in Cherhar village located in the AOR of Trimukha Coy of 27 RR located at an altitude of approximately 2500m above sea level, a joint operation was launched by a team of 9 Para SF of Indian Army, 27 RR and Indian Navy MARCOS to neutralize the militants. Considering the sailor’s past performance in operations, he was given the most challenging responsibility of support weapon in-charge of the MARCOS team. The task warranted carrying of heavy support weapon (LMG Negev 5.56mm) and additional ammunition in heavy snowfall through a treacherous route.
MARCOS in Wular Lake
The Deployment :~
On 13 Dec 2012, on completion of 48 hr surveillance mission, the team was tasked to return to the detachment. During de-induction, the MARCOS team was tasked to carry out a search of a nearby location from where a satellite intercept had just been obtained. The team reached the location and commenced search. Suddenly, the MARCOS team came under heavy automatic weapon and Grenade fire from militants hiding in the thick vegetation. Due to heavy enemy fire and very little reaction time, the team was highly vulnerable and could have resulted in high casualties.
MARCO Aadesh Kumar SEA I CD III (220165-A) MARCOS (E)
His Valour :~
Realizing the danger to the team and undeterred by the barrage of fire, the sailor with utter disregard to personal safety, charged towards the militant group firing rapidly from his Negev Light Machine Gun. During the charge, the sailor was hit by militant bullets on stomach and legs. Despite grievous injuries and excessive bleeding, the sailor continued the charge towards the incoming fire. In the process not only the enemy fire was suppressed but one hardcore militant was also killed. Motivated by his audacious action, the team also intensified retaliation forcing the militants to flee.
MARCOS Operatives with Tavor TAR-21 and Negev 5.56mm Light Machine Gun
Aadesh Kumar’s indomitable courage had resulted not only in the elimination of one hardcore foreign terrorist but also saved the life of his fellow team members. In recognition for this brave act, Aadesh Kumar Sea I CDIII (220165-A) was awarded Shaurya Chakra.
Shaurya Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy. It may be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel, sometimes posthumously. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Vir Chakra. It is generally awarded for Counter-Insurgency operations and actions against the enemy during peace-time.
He was also awarded the Salaam India Special Award for his indomitable bravery and courage.
MARCO Aadesh Kumar with Salaam India Special Award
These frogmen ( as they are called ) have done their job securing the region completely and thwarting any evil designs in the valley through these regions. Now they are partnering with Indian Army Special Forces to flush out militants in the region curbing out militant traffic and bringing peace to the valley.
Presently , Indian Army is carrying out an extensive drive against terrorists in Kashmir and now even involving Marine commandos (MARCOS) for clearing them out from the islands in the Jhelum river. The Navy has deployed a team of 30 Marine commandos, under a Lieutenant Commander, permanently in the Wular Lake to prevent any terrorist activity there.
MARCOS in Kashmir with Tavor TAR-21 with Mepro Mor Sight , AK-103 and Negev Light Machine Gun