As the stand-off between the armies of India and China refuses to end, the Marine Commandos (MARCOS) of the Indian Navy have been deployed in Lake Pangong area in eastern Ladakh, news agency ANI has reported. The idea behind the deployment of the MARCOS in eastern Ladakh, where Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Garud operates along with Indian Army’s Para Special Forces, which have been there since day one of the conflicts, is to integrate better the three services and provide the naval commandos exposure to extreme cold weather conditions, government sources said.
“The MARCOS have been deployed in Lake Pangong area where the Indian and Chinese forces have been engaged in a conflict situation since April-May timeframe this year,” the sources told the news agency.
The Navy commandos are soon going to get new boats for operations in the lake area along with the existing infrastructure for operations in the lake, they said.
Indian Army’s Special Forces, including the Para Special Forces, and Cabinet Secretariat’s Special Frontier Force have been operating in eastern Ladakh for carrying out special operations for a long time.
The IAF’s Garud Special Forces moved to hilltops on the strategic heights on the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) along with their Igla shoulder-fired air defence systems in the early days of the conflict to take care of any fighter or other aircraft of the enemy which may have tried to violate Indian air space.
The special troops belonging to both the army and air force have been there for more than six months.
On 29-30 August, the Indian side had used the special forces to occupy strategic heights along the LoAC to pre-empt the Chinese from doing so. The Chinese have also maintained special troops on their side of the LoAC.
The Indian Navy has deployed teams of its MARCOS in Lake Wular area of Jammu and Kashmir to tackle terrorism there. The IAF started deploying Garud in Kashmir valley after the 2016 Pathankot operations to give them the feel of real operations as part of plans of the then Army chief and now Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat.
Soon after their deployment, the Garuds proved their mettle and earned one Ashok Chakra, three Shaurya Chakras, and many other gallantry awards for eliminating a team of terrorists led by the nephew of 26/11 terrorist Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi.
After that operation, the IAF has been sending regular Garud teams for forward deployment in Kashmir valley.
The army has many of its special forces battalions deployed in the Kashmir valley for counter-terrorist operations including the ones which carried out surgical strikes in 2016.