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MARCOS, previously named as Marine Commando Force (MCF), is the special forces unit of the Indian Navy created for conducting special operations.
The MCF is specially organised, trained and equipped for the conduct of special operations in a maritime environment. The force has gradually acquired experience and a reputation for professionalism over the three decades it has been in existence. The MARCOS are capable of undertaking operations in all types of terrain, but are specialised in maritime operations in Jammu and Kashmir through the Jhelum River and Wular Lake, a 65 square kilometre freshwater lake. Some MARCOS personnel are also attached with the Army special forces units conducting counter-terrorism operations in the area.
The exclusivity of the unit lies in its competence to operate in all three mediums namely Sea, Air and Land. The MCF is specially organized, trained and equipped for the conduct of special operations in a maritime environment. Personnel from unit are deployed round the clock from Kashmir for CI/CT ops to GoA, Somalia for anti-piracy operations. The unit has always been at forefront in providing diving / civil assistance during times of natural disaster. The core tasking of MARCOS include:-
Conduct clandestine attack against enemy ships, offshore installations and other vital assets behind enemy lines.
To support amphibious operations including pre-assault ops.
To conduct unconventional warfare.
Conduct of surveillance and recce missions in support of military operations.
Conduct of clandestine diving operations.
To conduct hostage rescue operations in maritime environment.
Combating terrorism in a maritime environment.
All MARCOS personnel are males selected from the Indian Navy. They are selected when they are in their early 20s and have to go through a stringent selection process and training. The selection standards are extremely high. The training is a continuous process. American and British special forces assisted in the initial training, which now consists of a two-year course for new recruits. The training regimen includes: airborne operations, combat diving courses, counter-terrorism, anti-hijacking, anti-piracy operations, direct action, infiltration and exfiltration tactics, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare training etc. Majority of the training is conducted at INS Abhimanyu which is also the home base of MARCOS.
All MARCOS personnel are freefall qualified (HALO/HAHO). A few also qualify to operate the Cosmos CE-2F/X100 two-man subs. MARCOS train along with the Special Forces officers of the Indian Army like the Para Commandos at the Indian Special Forces Training School, Nahan and Army's other schools for Unconventional warfare These include the Junior Leaders' Commando Training Camp in Belgaum, Karnataka, the Parvat Ghatak School (for high altitude mountain warfare) in Tawang Arunachal Pradesh, Desert warfare school in Rajasthan, the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) in Sonamarg, Kashmir and the Counter-insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) in Vairengte, Mizoram. These schools routinely host students from other countries. MARCOS are then trained at various training agencies within the navy. They are skilled combat divers and parachutists and most of the training deals with counter-terrorist, anti-hijacking and anti-piracy operations.
The further training includes:
Open and closed circuit diving
Basic commando skills including advanced weapon skills, demolitions, endurance training and martial arts
Operation of submersible craft
Operations from submarines
Various special skills such as language training, insertion methods, etc.
Explosive ordnance disposal techniques
The MCF currently operates out of the naval bases at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Goa, Kochi and Port Blair. There are plans to shift the current training facility at the Naval Special Warfare Training and Tactical Centre to a new facility to be set up at the erstwhile Naval Academy in Goa.
On July 12, 2016, the naval base INS Karna was commissioned near Visakhapatnam as a permanent base for the unit.
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