Culture

J&K encounter: Bandipora gunfight kill two militants, claim two IAF commando's life

They had undergone a four-week pre-induction training before being deployed for counter-insurgency operations with 13 Rashtriya Rifles.

The two Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force who were killed during a counter-insurgency operation in Bandipora district's Hajin area in Jammu & Kashmir were members of the first batch of 28 Garud Commandos who have been inducted for a six-month long "live situation training".

Summary: This is the second known instance of the Garud force suffering fatalities in anti-terror operations.

The commandos were deployed when terrorist stormed the Pathankot air base in 2016. They are also trained to conduct airborne and counter terrorist operations. Subsequently, in August this year two squads of Garuds with each squad consisting of one officer and 13 other ranks were embedded with Army.

The Garuds were formed in 2003 towards providing specific in-house role capabilities to the Air Force.

"Garuds were with the Army for live situational training". The Chandigarh Air Force Station is responsible for logistic and administrative support to Garud personnel sent on attachment to Jammu and Kashmir as well their families living separately.

Official sources said the training of the elite Garud personnel with the Army was part of a range of measures the Indian Air Force (IAF) had initiated to bolster security at all its installations after the terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base past year.

The martyred IAF personnel were operating with the Army for operational experience and training.

"Garuds were raised for a different mandate for special Air Force tasks and not anti-terror operations", the former IAF chief Fali H. Major told The Hindu in the past. Moreover, the IAF is implementing a Rs 8,000 crore plan to shore up the security of almost 54 airbases all over the country post Pathankot attack. They are specially trained to be a Quick Reaction Force at important IAF bases and protect IAF high value assets.Garuds have been effectively employed in Indian missions in support of the United Nations and during extrication of Indian nationals from war zones.



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