World Politics Review interviews South Asia Center Nonresident Fellow Iskander Rehman on India’s special operations forces:
WPR: How developed are India’s special operations forces, and what are their principal capabilities?
Iskander Rehman: That’s a difficult question to answer, in part because some of India’s special operations forces (SOF) units may bear a closer resemblance to what Western military analysts would consider to be elite and/or specialized infantry than to special operators.
Within the Indian army, for example, there are currently about thirteen parachute or Para battalions, with plans for further expansion. Only a select number of these units are airborne, and many of the existing battalions are suffering from equipment and officer shortfalls. The Indian army also has Ghatak Army platoons, which are trained to act as the heavily armed spearheads or shock troops in the event of a large-scale ground assault.