Marine Commando Force (MCF) / MARCOS

Marine Commando Force (MCF) / MARCOS
Home NationIndia
Motto“The Few, The Fearless”
Date FoundedEstablished in 1997 under the name of the Marine Special Force (IMSF), but renamed the Marine Commando Force (MCF) in 1991.
Key StatisticsSize: Full size is classified, but MARCOS is alleged to have approximately 2000 personnel.

Funding: Classified.

Diversity: Although women are allowed in the Indian Army, female candidates are not allowed to apply for MARCOS.
Regimental RemitSpecialism: Specialised in Amphibious operations, MARCOS conducts special surveillance and reconnaissance, clandestine and asymmetric warfare operations, direct action, hostage rescue and counter-terrorism operations, foreign internal defence, and Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) missions

Where are they based: Naval bases at Mumbai, INS Abhimanyu, Visakhapatnam, Goa, Kochi, and Port Blair.

Operating location(s): domestic and international – MARCOS operatives are currently deployed on a counter-insurgency mission in Jammu and Kashmir, along the Jhelum River and Wular Lake. They are also known to operate outside India, particularly in Pakistan.
Noteworthy OperationsOperation Pawan, Sri Lanka, 1987 – 18 MARCOS operatives (then under the IMSF) supported the Indian Peace Keeping Force in the capture of the Jaffna and Trincomalee harbours. 

Operation Cactus, Maldives, 1988 – MARCOS operatives (then under the IMSF) helped prevent an attempted coup d’état in the Maldives by Sri Lankan militants

Operation Black Tornado

UNOSOM II, Mogadishu, Somalia, 1993 – UN intervention.

Operation Rakshak, Jammu, Kashmir, India, 1995-present – permanent counter-insurgency deployment.

Operation Vijay, Kargil, India, 1999 – MARCOS units deployed alongside the Indian Army during the Kargil War.

Operation Black Tornado, Mumbai, India, 11 November, 2008 – MARCOS units were deployed to respond to the terrorist attacks at the Trident and Taj Hotels.

Abduction of Sheikha Latifa, Indian Ocean, 4 March, 2018 – MARCOS units allegedly involved in the capture of Dubai Princess Sheikha Latifa, who was then handed to Emirati authorities.

China-India Skirmishes, Eastern Ladakh, India, 2020 – MARCOS units were allegedly deployed to Eastern Ladakh to support the Indian Army following clashes with the Chinese military.
Any ScandalsIn 2013, The Sunday Guardian reported that sexual misconduct is frequent amongst MARCOS units.
Noteworthy Distinctions/ extra informationDuring COIN operations, MARCOS operatives often disguise themselves as locals, sporting beards and traditional clothing to blend in. For this reason, locals in Jammu and Kashmir refer to them as ‘Dadiwala fauj’, meaning the ‘bearded army’.

They are also sometimes referred to as the Magarmach, meaning the Crocodiles.