Story Behind establishment of MARCOS Commandos

Almost 24 years ago, two Indian Naval officers sent off to the united states to attend a training course that few really know much about it. Since then it has been a tragedy of monumental neglect.

Almost 24 years ago, two Indian Naval officers quietly sent off to the united states to attend a training course that few really know much about it. These two officers, Lt. Arvind Singh and Lt. Shamsher Singh Deopa, were young Naval officers, who had never done anything like the course they were about to attend.

In the week that followed, Both Naval officer did India proud and Singh emerged on the top of the course. On their return to India, Singh and Deopa became part of top secret project that has been envisaged by few Naval officers. Both men were to be nucleus around which Indian marine special forces (IMSF) would be built and give India’s Nave the same edge that the navy S.E.A.L.S had.

In the next few years the IMSF would see action all over the Jaffna Peninsula as the IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) battled the LTTE(Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) in Sri Lanka. The first time the IMSF would see action would be a hazardous operation to blow up the Jaffna Jetty. This was the crucial link to the LTTE’s suicide boats that was threatening the IPKF’s naval ships as well as Sri Lankan navy. India’s Naval operation decided to use the first batch of IMSF to put together a team that would take out the jetty. 

Naturally the man they choose to lead the operation was Lt Arvund Singh. In the late hours of summer night, Singh and his men slipped off an Indian Naval ship and began to swim towards their objective a good 10-12 km away. Carrying their weapons and demolitions, the team slipped into the Jaffna harbour and led their charges. As soon as the jeety blew up, the LTTE immediately detected the IMSF team and began to harass them with withering fire. Singh and his men returned the fire and began their long swim back to their ship. They returned without any casualties and a year later, Singh would walk up the steps of Rashtrapati Bhawan to receive his Maha Vir Chakra.

Singh would participate in many more operations including a major rescue of Sri Lankan and IPKF forces held hostage in the Jaffna fort by the LTTE. Singh and his Sri Lankan counterparts parachuted into the fort and brought out the troops who had been held hostage for weeks. Years after the IPKF withdrew from the Sri Lanka, the Imsf would return to the Island nation for a few more operations that always remain under wraps Renamed as the MARCOS (Marine Commandos). They would continue to play a stellar role in the anti-piracy operations undertaken by the Indian Navy in recent months.

Lt. Arvind Singh



Lieutenant Arvind Singh was the Officer-in-Charge of Indian Marine Special Force (IMSF) team which alongwith 10 Para Commandos was given certain specific tasks as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force operation in Sri Lanka.

Lieutenant Singh leading a team broke out from Jaffna Fort at 1430 hours on 19th October, 1987. During this operation, the team had to negotiate through heavily mined road with booby traps laid by the militants. The team was under militants fire from buildings and roof tops. Lieutenant Singh by his personal example of bravery motivated his men to secure the area which resulted in link up of 41 Brigade with 1 Maratha Light Infantry on 20th October, 1987.

On the night of 21st/22nd October, 1987 Indian Maine Special Force team under his leadership was tasked to destroy Guru Nagar Jetty and the militant speed Boats in the Jaffna Lagoon. The team successfully placed and detonated explosive charges and extensively damaged the Jetty and destroyed six militant speed boats. In order to destroy the remaining militant speed boats the team reached its destination by swimming over a mile under water and successfully planted demolition charges in 11 speed boats, kept ready for the escape of hard core militants. Before the charges could be exploded the team came under heavy fire from the militant. Lieutenant Arvind Singh once again effectively took charge of the situation and provided diversion by exposing himself to militants fire without regard to his life and personal safety. This act inspired his men who accomplished the task of destruction of all the speed boats.

Lieutenant Arvind Singh thus displayed exceptional devotion to duty and gallantry in utter disregard to his personal safety.

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