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All About MARCOS Commandos

The MARCOS Commandos, an elite unit of the Indian Navy, are a highly skilled and secretive force renowned for their exceptional combat capabilities and unmatched bravery. Officially known as the...

The MARCOS Commandos, an elite unit of the Indian Navy, are a highly skilled and secretive force renowned for their exceptional combat capabilities and unmatched bravery. Officially known as the Marine Commando Force, they specialize in amphibious warfare and excel in maritime and counter-terrorism operations. Often compared to the esteemed Navy SEALs of the United States, the MARCOS have earned their reputation through their courage and expertise.

MARCOS Commandos

History of MARCOS

In response to growing maritime security challenges and the need for specialized forces to counter terrorist activities along India’s coastline, the MARCOS was formed in 1987. Modeled after the U.S. Navy SEALs and the British Special Boat Service (SBS), the unit has evolved into a formidable force, earning accolades for their successful operations.

Key Milestones

  • Formation: On 26th February 1987, MARCOS was officially established as an elite special operations unit within the Indian Navy, initially consisting of a select group of highly skilled personnel.
  • Training: The initial cadre of MARCOS underwent intensive training encompassing diverse fields such as amphibious warfare, special operations tactics, combat diving, and unconventional warfare techniques.
  • Anti-Piracy Operations: MARCOS played a pivotal role in executing anti-piracy operations in regions like the Gulf of Aden and other piracy-prone areas. Their expertise in maritime operations and combat prowess proved instrumental in ensuring the safety and security of Indian vessels and their crews.
  • Counter-Terrorism Operations: Over time, MARCOS has actively engaged in conducting counter-terrorism operations both within the country and beyond its borders. Their deployment in sensitive areas has been critical in thwarting terrorist threats and safeguarding national security interests.
  • Operation Pawan: A noteworthy operation carried out by MARCOS was “Operation Pawan” during the late 1980s amid the Sri Lankan Civil War. Their instrumental role in capturing crucial LTTE-held territories contributed significantly to restoring peace in the region.

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Selection and Training of MARCOS

Joining MARCOS involves a tough selection process for navy personnel with outstanding service records. Candidates face challenging physical tests, endurance drills, and psychological evaluations. Those selected undergo rigorous training, covering combat diving, underwater demolitions, close-quarters combat, counter-terrorism operations, and specialized weapons training.

MARCOS Commandos-operation

Selection Process

The selection process involves four phases, starting with Pre-Selection, followed by Selection, Initial Qualification Training (Basic SF Training), and concluding with a Probation Period (Advanced SF Training).

  • Pre-Selection: Candidates undergo a rigorous assessment, leading to a significant attrition rate between 50% and 80%.
  • Selection: Candidates proceed to a 5-week Selection process, characterized by physically demanding tasks and minimal sleep.
  • Initial Qualification Training: Conducted at INS Abhimanyu, this 10-week training program encompasses various essential skills such as weapons handling, unarmed combat, close-quarter battle (CQB) training, and diving exercises.
  • Advanced SF Training: Candidates undergo a probationary period wherein they receive specialized training in combat free-fall, counter-insurgency, reconnaissance, amphibious operations, and more.
MARCOS Commandos-Indian navy

Roles and Responsibilities of MARCOS

The MARCOS (Marine Commandos) are an elite special operations force of the Indian Navy. Trained to excel in maritime and amphibious warfare, MARCOS commandos have various roles and responsibilities.

  • Counter-Terrorism Operations: MARCOS play a critical role in countering terrorist threats and neutralizing terror activities both on land and at sea.
  • Special Reconnaissance: They gather intelligence through reconnaissance and surveillance operations.
  • Unconventional Warfare: MARCOS are trained in unconventional warfare techniques, including sabotage and guerrilla warfare.
  • Amphibious Assaults: They conduct amphibious assaults, infiltrating enemy territory from the sea and capturing strategic locations.
  • Rescue and Evacuation: MARCOS conduct search and rescue operations during natural disasters, humanitarian crises, or hostage situations.
  • Counter-Piracy Operations: They counter piracy activities, safeguarding Indian flagged vessels and seafarers.
MARCOS Commandos-rescue operation

How to Join MARCOS?

Application for MARCOS is open exclusively to male volunteers of the Indian Navy, including both commissioned officers and enlisted sailors. Aspiring candidates can join the Indian Navy as sailors and subsequently opt for the Special Forces after enlisting. They can appear for exams like INET (Indian Navy Entrance Test) to be considered for sailor roles.


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The MARCOS Commandos, India’s silent guardians of the seas, bear the critical responsibility of safeguarding the nation’s maritime interests and combating terrorism. Their courage, skills, and commitment to duty exemplify India’s strength and resolve. As the elite special forces, MARCOS continues to inspire the nation, and their contributions to national security remain immeasurable.


1. What does MARCOS stand for?

MARCOS stands for Marine Commandos, which is an elite special operations force of the Indian Navy.

2. When was MARCOS established?

MARCOS was officially established on 26th February 1987.

3. What are the primary responsibilities of MARCOS Commandos?

The primary responsibilities of MARCOS Commandos include conducting counter-terrorism operations, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, amphibious assaults, rescue and evacuation missions, counter-piracy operations, and protection of offshore assets.

4. How does one become a MARCOS Commando?

To become a MARCOS Commando, one must first join the Indian Navy as a sailor or an officer. Male volunteers of the Indian Navy can opt for MARCOS after enlisting or through officer entry schemes. They undergo a rigorous selection process and intensive training before joining the elite force.

5. What is the selection process like for MARCOS?

The selection process for MARCOS Commandos involves several phases, including Pre-Selection, Selection, Initial Qualification Training (Basic SF Training), and a Probation Period (Advanced SF Training). Candidates undergo physical tests, endurance drills, psychological evaluations, and specialized training to qualify as MARCOS Commandos.

6. What are some notable operations conducted by MARCOS?

MARCOS Commandos have been involved in various operations, including anti-piracy operations, counter-terrorism operations, rescue missions, and amphibious assaults. Notable operations include Operation Pawan during the Sri Lankan Civil War and their involvement in thwarting terrorist threats during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

7. Are there any specific physical requirements to become a MARCOS Commando?

Yes, candidates aspiring to become MARCOS Commandos must meet certain physical standards set by the Indian Navy. These standards include endurance, strength, agility, and swimming proficiency, among others.

8. How secretive are MARCOS Commandos about their operations?

MARCOS Commandos maintain a secretive and low-profile approach regarding their operations, similar to most special forces units worldwide. They operate with precision, stealth, and swift execution, and details about their operations are often classified for security reasons.

9. Can females join MARCOS?

As of now, MARCOS Commandos are exclusively open to male volunteers of the Indian Navy. There are no provisions for females to join MARCOS at present.

10. How do MARCOS Commandos compare to other elite special forces units?

MARCOS Commandos are often compared to elite special forces units like the U.S. Navy SEALs and the British Special Boat Service (SBS). While each unit has its unique capabilities and operational methodologies, MARCOS Commandos are renowned for their expertise in maritime and amphibious warfare, as well as their proficiency in counter-terrorism operations.

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