Amid the rising tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is employing martial arts trainers to train their military officers stationed at LAC. Some reports claimed that at least 20 martial arts trainers have been sent to Tibet to train Chinese soldiers deployed near LAC.
But Indian Army is fully prepared for any kind of assault by Chinese forces and has deployed its Ghatak commandos in Ladakh near the border areas to counter the martial arts’ trained Chinese Army. According to an Army officer, a Ghatak commando undergos a specialised 43-day Commando Training Course at Belgaum in Karnataka. The training includes running for 40-kilometers non-stop with a weight of about 35 kg which strengthens them physically.
Ghatak Platoons are specialized elite infantry platoons within Indian Army and their primary role and purpose is to be heavily armed spearheads or shock troopers in case of an operation or a conflict.
Ghatak Platoons are composed of the most physically fit and motivated soldiers in an infantry battalion. The Ghatak commandos are trained to flank around their enemy and attack them from the rear without needing any support from the rest of the battalion. Apart from weapons training they are also trained in hand-to-hand combat and also specialise in martial arts.
Ghatak commandos can undertake direct raids on enemy artillery positions, air fields, supply dumps and headquarters and can also direct artillery and air attacks while behind the enemy lines. They are also trained in heliborne assault , mountain warfare , rock climbing , demolitions, close quarter battles , and also in administrative and logistical roles.
A Ghatak Platoon is usually 20-men strong, consisting of a commanding Captain, 2 non-commissioned officers and some special teams like marksman and spotter pairs, light machine gunners, medic and radio operator. The remaining soldiers act as assault troopers.
To train them for their purpose, Ghatak commandos undergo training at Commando Training Course in Belgaum, Karnataka where the soldiers are evaluated through speed marches in battle gear ranging from 20 to 60 km, carrying their rifles and 20 kg of weight in their rucksacks. They are armed with INSAS Assault Rifles , AKM Assault Rifles , Pika General Purpose Machine Gun , M4 Carbine , B&T MP9 Submachine Gun , TAR-21 Assault Rifles , Carl Gustav Recoil-Less Rifle , SVD Dragunov Sniper Rifle , MP5 Submachine Gun and INSAS Light Machine Guns.
Depending on the mission, these commandos may carry other items like ropes, climbing gear, grenades, rocket launchers, laser target designators and night vision equipment.
When Indian Army conducted surgical strikes on terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the troops included the crack Ghatak platoons of the very same 6 Bihar and 10 Dogra battalions who lost 19 soldiers in Uri attack. Ghatak platoons joined two para commando units for the surgical strike inside PoK. Ghatak platoons were sent for the operation to ensure a sense of revenge was achieved.
In 1999 during the Kargil War, 18 Grenadier Yogendra Singh, who played an important role in helping the Army capture Tiger Hill, was also a Ghatak commando. Singh was later awarded Param Vir Chakra for his valour.
Lieutenant Navdeep Singh, who was martyred in 2011 during an encounter with terrorist in Gurez sector of Jammu and Kashmir, was also a Ghatak Platoon commander. Singh was awarded Ashok Chakra for his bravery.
Captain Chandar Chaudhary, who attained martyrdom on September 9, 2022 during a ‘seek a destroy’ operation against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, was also a commander of Ghatak Platoon.