5 Amazing Facts About Special Group (India)

5 Amazing Facts About Special Group (India)

There are many Special Forces (SF) units in India.  The three branches of the Indian Armed Forces have separate Special Forces units, viz.  Indian Army’s Para SF, Indian Navy’s MARCOS, and Indian Air Force’s Garud Commando Forces. 

In this article, we discuss 5 Amazing Facts About Special Group (India). There are other special forces that are not controlled by the military but operate under civilian organizations such as the National Security Guard of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Small groups of military SF units are deputed to the Armed Forces Special Operations Division, which includes an Integrated command and control structure.

Ever wondered what is India’s answer to the elite units of MI6 or Metsada of Mossad?  Special Groups (SGs) are our special forces units that operate in a similar capacity to those organizations.  The entity, established in 1981, is at the heart of our covert operations around the world.  It works as a unit under Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The toughest Indian soldiers are in the special group, who are trained to face extreme hardships. This training prepares them to enter hostile organizations and operate behind enemy lines. 

The Special Group is a secretive Special Forces unit of the Research and Analysis Wing.  It was formed in 1981. The responsibilities of the Special Group include covert intelligence operations and covert operations with which the Indian government does not want to be openly associated.

Know here 5 shocking facts about the dreaded Special Forces units:

It’s been working in secret for decades

  Defense researchers trace the origins of the SG to the 1962 Indo-China war.  After the war, India created a classified organization, the Directorate General of Security (DGS).  With the help of the CIA.  In 1968, the Defense Ministry placed the DGS under the control of the Research and Analysis Wing.  Later in 1982, DGS launched a secret mission called Project Sunray.  Under the project, an officer from PARA-SF was to form an elite team of 250 soldiers.

5 Amazing Facts About Special Group (India)

Mossad coached SG teams in the past

Of the soldiers who made it to Project Sanre, six went to a secret military base in Israel to train under the Mossad.  The Mossad Special Forces team behind Operation Entebbe trained for several weeks.  The goals of the unit have evolved over the years.  SG handled counter-terrorism and hostage rescue in its infancy.  Now the National Security Guard performs those duties, but the actual duties of the SG are not classified.  The SG plans and executes covert operations that the Indian government does not want to be associated with.

It has four squadrons each with four troops

The Special Group consists of four squadrons, each of which specializes in a different skill-set.  These squadrons are further divided into four troops each.  In addition to warfare, they also conduct intelligence gathering, operational planning, communications, and training.  Reports suggest that SG uses the latest and deadliest weapons and equipment. 

The unit consists of volunteers from various branches of our Armed Forces, who are joining the SG on deputation.  SG is headquartered in Sarsawa, Uttar Pradesh but the primary base is in Chakrata, Uttarakhand.  The SG functions under the Directorate General of Security which in turn works under the Research and Analysis Wing.  RAW reports to the Cabinet Secretariat, which comes under the supervision of the Prime Minister.

SG has been part of some significant work over the years

In 1983 the SG provided security for the Non-Aligned Movement Summit and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.  The former helped India secure its place as the leader of the movement.  In the same year, RAW planned a covert operation to kidnap Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.  According to the plan called Operation Sundown, the SG was to enter the Golden Temple, Amritsar.

SG has been part of some significant work over the years

A British officer from the Special Air Service arrived in India to assist with the operation.  A unit formed at Sarsawa Air Force Base prepared and rehearsed for this operation.  In the end the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi rejected the operation.  She had apprehensions about the escalation of religious tensions and the risks involved.

They were the first armed forces in India to use the AK-47 rifle

To counter the Khalistan threat, our military system launched ‘Operation Bluestar’ (1984).  Before the operation, a Special Group Unit came to Amritsar and planned military action.  Like Operation Sundown, he received help from the British Secret Services in planning the operation.  Armed with AK-47 rifles and night vision goggles, SG commenced operations on 6 June 1984.  The unit eliminated Bhindranwale and other prominent Khalistan leaders through prompt action.  Although 1 PARA-SF claimed credit for it, it is now generally accepted that SG killed Bhindranwale.  He was killed using AK-47 rifles, which at that time were allotted only to SG.  The commandos who infiltrated the Golden Temple on 6 June 1984 were members of the Indian Army’s Special Group of the 56th Commando Company.  They were the first units of the Indian Army to occupy sensitive public spaces and receive specialized training to deal with hostage-like terrorists.

The SG also performed the duty of Prime Minister Security before the formation of the Special Protection Group (1985).  Several Indian covert operations in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka required the expertise of the SG.  In addition, SG has been part of several shelving operations over the years.  This included a planned raid near the Kahuta nuclear facility in Pakistan during the Kargil War.

In 1999, terrorists hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814 from Kathmandu to Delhi and took it to Kandahar, Afghanistan.  At that time, Afghanistan was under the control of the Taliban.  The Indian government considered the possibility of an anti-hijacking operation.  The Government of India asked the SG to prepare for the rescue operation.  The operation was canceled due to public pressure.

  Over the past few decades, the unit has shown its wide expertise in J&K by fighting insurgents beyond the Line of Control (LoC).  SG operatives have also carried out effective cross-border information-gathering operations from terrorist bases located in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.  Over the years, the Special Group has been instrumental in creating tactics, procedures, weapons, equipment, and the SG currently trains other Special Forces.  The Special Group cooperates with other secret services around the world against global terror, illegal arms trade, etc.  Researchers say that regular joint training sessions are conducted by these organizations at classified locations across the country.

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