The two Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force, who were killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir yesterday, were part of the first batch of IAF personnel attached to the Army for anti-terror training in the wake of the Pathankot attack. The first incident took place when terrorists attacked Pathankot airbase in January 2016 in which one Garud died.
The Garuds were formed in 2003 towards providing specific in-house role capabilities to the Air Force.
Two Garud squads, each consisting of one officer and 13 other ranks, have been deployed in Kashmir. They had undergone a four week pre-induction training before being deployed for Counter Insurgency operations with 13 Rashtriya Rifles. Both the Air Force personnel were GARUD Commandos who were operating with the Army for operational experience and training. "They came in August", a defence official said.
According to sources, following the terror attack at Pathankot Air Force Station in January 2016, the IAF made a decision to upgrade the training of its Garud commandos to be able to effectively tackle a jihadi terrorist threat and improve their security posture. The report also faulted the Garud commandos for their failure in handling the situation, and said they were ill-prepared for the task. They are specially trained to be a quick reaction force at important IAF bases and protect its high-value assets.
At present, the force has 1,000 Garuds and the IAF is now raising more squads with focus on anti-terror operations. 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.