(Representational image) Para Special Forces | Indian Army Parachute Regiment SF | Facebook
(Representational image) Para Special Forces | Indian Army Parachute Regiment SF | Facebook
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New Delhi: The Army is reviewing the selection process of its personnel volunteering for the elite special forces and airborne battalions, which are known for conducting cross-border surgical strikes and other covert operations, to expand their role in multiple operational theatres.

Top defence sources said it is being proposed that there should be a centralised training-based selection process of volunteers at the Special Forces Training School (SFTS) at Nahan in Himachal Pradesh. The school may also shift to Bakloh in the same state.

Currently, this rigorous training-based selection process, called probation, is conducted by different units of the Parachute Regiment.

The Parachute Regiment, under which come the special forces and airborne battalions, comprises specially trained personnel who volunteer from all arms and services of the Army. Officers and all other ranks can volunteer to join the regiment and the special forces.

The volunteers are put through a difficult probation of three months, and are inducted into the regiment or the special forces once they qualify.

Also read: Army reviewing policy to assign aides-de-camp to governors, cites shortage of young officers

Why the change?

According to sources, the current selection to the Parachute Regiment is conducted by the units in line with their operational requirements based on fixed theatres.

“So if a person is selected for operating in the deserts, he usually continues to operate in that theatre. But with changing operational requirements, each special forces unit may be needed to perform its role in more than one theatre,” a top defence source explained.

The source added that there is a requirement to multitask and also work in conjunction with other special forces units, and thus the need to expand the spectrum of training.

“Each soldier, after his probation, should expect and be prepared for operations in any terrain and operational environment,” the source said.

“The new system will standardise the selection and training procedures.”

A second source said the need to revisit the selection process also arose to address the shortfall of volunteers with the expansion of Parachute Regiment and special forces.

Also read: Covid blurs distinction between war and peace as soldiers worldwide fight the third army

What is the current process?

According to the current process, officers who volunteer first go to the Parachute Regimental Training Centre (PRTC) in Bengaluru and are subsequently sent to the Parachute Regiment units for the probation period. However, other ranks directly go to the units for the probation.

No one organisation conducts the probation, instead it is handled by the special forces unit taking in the volunteers.

“Each special forces unit prides itself in certain traditions and ethos … the probation is to ensure that the soldier is mentally adapted to these and willing to accept them,” said the first source quoted.

Officers who volunteer directly from the Army training academies — such as the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun and the Officers Training Academy in Chennai — or after a few years of service undergo an initial month-long training at the PRTC in Bengaluru.

The Military Secretary’s Branch assigns volunteers to airborne or special forces units during the phase 1 probation based on a battalion’s officer strength.

On clearing phase 1, officers move to the phase 2 of probation for three months.

In case of jawans, new recruits go to the PRTC and undergo the entire process. Those who volunteer from other regiments directly go to the units they are detailed for, and undergo the three-month probation there.

The Parachute Regiment units are allotted by infantry directorate based on deficiencies.

Most Army personnel volunteer for the special forces within the first two years of their career.

Also read: Online courses, non-contact sports — how military training is taking on Covid challenge

What is the new proposal?

The Army has proposed that volunteers for the special forces and the Parachute Regiment be given a two-month notice before the selection process begins, after which a week-long preparatory phase of orientation will take place.

Once the orientation is done, the first phase of training will include a four-week selection and screening process at Special Forces Training School.

After screening, they will be allotted to Parachute or special forces battalions through a board of officers.

Once allotted a battalion, volunteers will undergo phase 2 of probation — three months of training in basic skills. This will be different for special forces and airborne volunteers.

Subsequently, the selected group will go through a third level of training, which will include four weeks of the para basic course at the Parachute Training School in Agra.

The proposal says four courses can be held throughout the year — in March, June, September and December — with a maximum of 500 volunteers per course, including officers.

Also read: 5 Special Forces men, 5 terrorists: How a deadly hand-to-hand fight at the LoC unfolded


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18 Comments Share Your Views


  1. Para commando hona bahot tough hai.Bohot mehnat karna parte hai.To become a para commando one should be physical ,medical and mentally robust.Even a slight difference can make you out .Umid karta hu ki mai bhi ek special forces ka hisa ban pauga

  2. India must train its manpower in boxing, karate, kick boxing, taekwondo & any other martial arts and participate in international & olympic games. This will create an impact for India & also the image of its armed forces.

  3. India develops unique model to hit targets without positioning error

    • Due to the unavailability of a reliable model to predict the electron density of the ionosphere, navigation errors remain, creating technological hurdles. A new model developed by Indian researchers has potential applications in calculating these Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning errors.
    • Scientists from the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG), have developed a global model to predict ionospheric electron density with larger data coverage.
    • Named as an ‘Artificial Neural Networks-based global Ionospheric Model’ (ANNIM), the model can be applied for all kinds of GNSS based positioning, aviation and navigation applications.
    • It successfully reproduced large-scale anomalies in the ionosphere caused by solar and cosmic radiation. The model can minimize positioning errors in navigation. It may not be possible to eliminate the errors completely
    • Although several fighter jets and other missile systems have been fitted with highly-accurate navigation systems, few weapons in service can yet take advantage of this model. The model can also be used for scientific investigations into space weather.

  4. India reviews FDI policy

    • The Centre on Saturday, 18 April 2020, amended the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy to ensure no hostile takeover of firms facing stress due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
    • According to the amendment, an entity of a country, which shares land border with India or where the beneficial owner of an investment into India is situated in or is a citizen of any such country, can invest only under the Government route.
    • Just last week, China’s People’s Development Bank had picked up over 1% stake in India’s largest private lender HDFC bank.

  5. Export configuration of Russia’s Bumerang combat vehicle to differ from domestic version

    • The Bumerang is the latest standardized wheeled platform for multiservice forces developed by the Military Industrial Company. The platform was used as the basis for developing the K-16 armoured personnel carrier, and the K-17 infantry fighting vehicle.
    • A promotional certificate and an export configuration certificate have been formalized for combat vehicles based on the Bumerang standardized platform. The configuration of the vehicles intended for exports differs from those that go to the Russian Army by communications and automated combat control systems, electromagnetic shielding and protection systems against WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and a means of reducing visibility on the battlefield. At the same time, the combat vehicles’ design will not undergo any changes.
    • Russia has started to promote the export of armoured vehicles based on the latest Bumerang combat platform, with their sales estimated at about $1 billion.
    • Countries of Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the CIS have already displayed their interest in the Bumerang combat vehicle.

  6. Pakistan successfully test-fires anti-ship missiles

    • Pakistan successfully conducted a test firing of anti-ship missiles in the North Arabian Sea, said a statement from the Pakistan Navy on Saturday (25 April 2020).
    • According to the statement, warships and airplanes fired anti-ship missiles at sea level which hit their targets accurately.

  7. There is no need to publicize names of the killed terrorists. It just creates a fodder for India-Baiters.
    Best is to cremate the bodies and be done.
    If we have implicit faith in our forces, a call for transparency is useless, hollow and indicates lack of faith.

    • Shunning transparency is the first step to a totalitarian regime, which mustn’t be encou2in any form or practice. Even soldiers are humans, all humans crave for power & power ultimately corrupts. Accountability and transparency shouldn’t be sacrificed for anything, no matter whatever the reason is.

      “Those who forego liberty for the sake of security deserve neither” – Benjamin Franklin


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