The Parachute Regiment - Para commandos

The Parachute Regiment is the main airborne regiment of the Indian Army.The parachute units of the Indian Army are among the oldest airborne units in the world. The first such unit to be authorized was on 15 May 1941, and the 50th Indian Parachute Brigade was formed on 27 October 1941, comprising the 151st British Parachute Battalion , 152nd Indian Parachute Battalion & 153rd Gurkha Parachute Battalion.

The Parachute regiment has a total of ten regular and two territorial battalions; of the regular bns, three are standard parachute infantry battalions, while seven are commando trained battalions. Formerly designated as "commando" units, they are now designated as special forces:

1st Battalion (Special Forces) - ex 1st Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment Raised 1761, conversion to Special Forces 1978 2nd Battalion (Special Forces) - ex 3rd Battalion, Maratha Light Infantry raised 1797, conversion to Special Forces 2000 3rd Battalion (Special Forces) - ex 1st Battalion, Kumaon Regiment raised 1813, conversion to Special Forces 2004 4th Battalion (Special Forces) raised 1961, conversion to Special Forces 2001 or 2003. It contributed to the Sri Lanka Indian Peace Keeping Force in the 1980s. The Battalion has the distinction of completing the Siachen Glacier tenure without suffering a single casualty on account of weather or enemy action. The battle honour of the battalion is Sadiqia earned during the 1971 war. 9th Battalion (Special Forces) raised 1966 as 9th Parachute Commando Battalion. The battalion was raised as an irregular force known as 'Meghdoot Force' by Lt Col Megh Singh, VrC of the Brigade of the Guards during the 1965 Indo-Pak War (Operation Riddle), where its exemplary performance prompted the higher authorities to regularize it and form part of the Parachute Regiment as the army's first commando battalion. 10th Battalion ((Special Forces) raised in 1967 as 10th Parachute Commando battalion from 9 Para Cdo. The battalion distinguished itself in the desert sector during the 1971 Operations. 21st Battalion (Special Forces) - ex 21st Battalion, Maratha Light Infantry raised 1985, conversion to Special Forces 1996 5th Battalion raised 1963 6th Battalion raised 1963 7th Battalion raised 1964 106th Territorial Battalion - Bangalore 116th Territorial Battalion - Deolali 31st Battalion (Commando) - Rashtriya Rifles

Three of the Indian Special Forces battalions were originally trained for use in certain environments; 1st bn [strategic reserve], 9th Bn [mountain] and 10th Bn [desert] and the 21st Bn [jungle]. Currently all Special Forces battalions are cross trained for all environments.

The 8th Battalion became 16th Battalion, Mahar Regiment in 1976 before reconverting to the 12th Battalion, Mechanised Infantry Regiment. A sizable part of the battalion was retained in the airborne role for some time, forming the armoured element of the 50th (Independent) Parachute Brigade and equipped with their BMP2 Infantry Combat Vehicles. But due to administrative and logistic reasons, it was discontinued and their role being taken over by the para battalions themselves, with a platoon strength of each battalion being trained and equipped for the mechanized role within the brigade.

The 50th (Independent) Parachute Brigade comprises two parachute battalions, one special forces battalion, 60 Parachute Field Hospital, 411 (Independent) Parachute Field Company (Bombay Sappers), 622 Parachute Composite Company ASC, 50th (Independent) Parachute Brigade OFP (Ordnance), 50th (Independent) Parachute Brigade Signal Company, 2 (Independent) Parachute Field Workshop Company, 1 parachute field regiment (Artillery) (9 & 17 parachute field regiments), an air defence battery and a provost section. The President's Body Guard also forms part of the brigade as the pathfinders company.

The three parachute battalions in rotation form part of the parachute brigade alternatingly serving their field tenures in counter-insurgency/high altitude areas. One of the seven SF battalions too serves in the brigade on rotation. One of the two field regiments (9 Para Fd Regt and 17 Para Fd Regt) also forms part of the brigade while the other serves out its field tenure on rotation.

Two Territorial Army battalions, 106th (Bangalore) and 116th (Deolali) also form part of the Parachute Regiment. They form the elite part of the Terriers (as the Territorial Army is popularly known) and presently involved in COIN operations.

31st Battalion (Commando), Rashtriya Rifles, is also affiliated to the Parachute Regiment, for special operations conducted by the counter-insurgency force.

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