UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Parachute Regiment

The main aim of having a Parachute Unit to any country is for quick deployment of the solders behind enemy lines to attack the enemy from behind & destroy their first line of defence. They are the "CRACK FORCE" & help the main army to get in without much damage. The Indian Paras are the Elite group of soldiers & generally all the Special Forces personals are selected from it. Though it has it's own SF Units & slowly the reat of them are being converted into SF or better known as "COMMANDOS".

The three parachute commandos (battalion-size units) perform special forces duties. Airborne, Air Assault or Parachute troops are usually held centralized. The mounts, in all cases, are provided by the Indian Air Force. The parachute and parachute commando units, which are part of the Indian Army's special forces, are ready reaction troops, although their use "is heavily dependent on the Air Force air transport fleet.

By start of the new century, the Parachute Regiment had essentially two components. One part was the traditional parachute force, with the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Parachute. The other were the five Parachute (SF) units. with the 1 Para (SF) , 2 Para (SF), 9 Para (SF), 10 Para (SF) and 21st Parachute (Special Forces). The 1 Para (SF) is trained for mountain warfare, the 9 Para (SF) is trained for jungle warfare, the 10 Para (SF) is trained for desert warfare, & so on.

In 2003 the government announced the creation of four new special forces battalions to be trained in cooperation with Israel. The intended role for these units was to stop cross-border infiltration in Kashmir, though they were to be trained for cross-border raids as well. One report indicated in 2004, that the 5th Parachute was converting to the special forces role; however, it was actually the 4th that converted. There are no open source indications that the remaining battalions were ever actually formed.

The parachute units of the Indian Army are among the oldest airborne units in the world. The 1st unit was authorized on 15 May 1941, & by October 1941 the 50th (Independent) Parachute Brigade had been formed; comprising 152nd Parachute Battalion (Indian), 151st Parachute Battalion (British) & 153rd Parachute Battalion (Gurkha).

The name "RED DEVILS" was given to them by the soldiers of the German African Corps fighting against them in Africa. The name "RED" came from the "MAROON BERET" that the paratroopers used to wear which is now a trade mark for all the paratroopers around the world.

In 1944, it was decided to form a division (44th Indian Parachute Division) & at the same time the formation of the Indian Parachute Regiment as a separate entity was authorized. The partition of India in 1947 led to the split of the para units between India & Pakistan. 50th (I) Parachute Brigade was quickly involved in operations in Kashmir 1947-49. Subsequently, the 51st (Independent) Parachute Brigade was formed in 1961, but was converted in 1976 to an Infantry Brigade.

In 1952, these specially trained Parachute Units from The 1 Punjab (1 Para), 3 Maratha (2 Para) & 1 Kumaon (3 Para) Regiments were transferred to the newly raised Parachute Regiment. Subsequently, to this five Parachute & two Parachute (Commando) Battalions were raised. However, 8 Para was converted in 1976 to 16 Mahar & later to 12 Mech. Inf.

During the 1965 Indo-Pak War a special independent force of commandos was raised on 01 July 1966, the 9 Para was formed to take on the task, creating the smaller commando force in the process. A year later part of the 9 Para was split to form 10 Para, each with 3 companies. In 1969 both units added the suffix "COMMANDOS" to their titles, becoming 9 & 10 Para (Commandos). Now the suffix has been changed to "SF"(Special Forces), but commando is still written on their uniform's arms. On 01 February 1996, 21 MLI joined the Regiment designated as the 21 Para (SF).

The Paratroopers saw their first action in 1945 when a Bn. group was dropped at Elephant Point for the battle of Rangoon. The Parachute Regiment under took its first post-independence airborne op. when 2 Para Bn. group was dropped near Tangail in Bangladesh on 11 December 1971, and was also the first of the Indian Army to enter Dhaka. The 9 & 10 Para Commandos proved their mettle in 1971 by conducting lightening raids in Mandhol (across Munawar Twai) & in Chachro (Sind) respectively. The Para Regiment took active part in the liberation of Goa in 1961 and in Op. Pawan (Sri Lanka) with nearly 80% of the Regiment deployed in the island in 1987-89. The 3 and 6 Para conducted air landed operations in aid of the Govt. of Maldives. The Para Bn. have in addition to their participation in other campaigns, formed part of UN Operations in Gaza & Korea.

Today, the Para Regiment is perhaps the only Regiment to have taken part in every theatre & every op. in & outside the country. As a recognition of its distinguished service, the Regiment was presented its new colors by the President on 06 October 1967.

All Indian paratroopers are volunteers; some enter the regiments direct from civil life, while others transfer in from Regular Army units. There is a probationary period of 45 days when men undergo various physical & mental tests, during which many are rejected. Those who pass are sent to the PTS (Paratroopers Training School) at Agra, U.P. where 5 jumps, including 1 at night, entitle the trainee to wear the wings & the maroon beret. Para (SF) undergo more specialized training to suit them for their role. Now the paras are also excepting women, not in the Battalions, but the parachute-trained units of supporting services e.g., engineers, signals, medical corps, etc.

The tenth Parachute Battalion (Commando) celebrated its 33rd raising day somewhere in Western Sector in mid-2000. Both serving and retired officers, junior commissioned officers, other ranks and their families had a memorable get-together and varieties of programmes during the celebrations. The battalion was raised at the Para Regimental Centre at Gwalior on June 1, 1967 under its first Commanding Officer, Lt Col NS Uthaya and designated as 10th battalion of the Para Regiment. On February 8, 1969 the battalion was reorganised and redesignated as 10 Para Commando, thus, getting the unique honour of being the second commando battalion of the Indian Army. In November 1994, the unit was re-designated as 10 Para (Special Force). The unit comprised classes drawn mainly from Rajasthan. It was manned and equipped for mobile commando operations in the deserts. Over the years, the unit, by virtue of its task and orientation has acquired skills of an exceptional standard for operating in deserts. The battalion has been able to make an enviable niche for itself in the rich history of the Indian Army. Its performance in operations Cactus Lily, Pawan, Rhino, Rakshak and Meghdoot has been repeatedly acknowledged and praised in the highest quarters in the Indian Army.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:37:38 ZULU