How Good are the MARCOS and NSG as compared to SEAL and DELTA Force?

NSG: NSG by definition is a “Federal Contingency Deployment Force” which comes under Home Ministry. They were earlier raised as a “Special Operations Force” but that term was dropped for a more convenient “Commando” tag. On the other hand, Navy SEALS comes under US Navy and are a part of United States Special Operations Command and United States Naval Special Warfare Command. DELTA Force, on the other hand, comes under US Joint Special Operations Command and United States Army Special Operations Command.

NSG is in no way comparable to either of these forces both in roles, Area of Operation and mission profiles. NSG primary role is Urban Warfare with special emphasis laid on Room Intervention, Hostage Rescue, Close-Quarter Battle Counter-Terrorism Duties and Close Protection roles.

Navy SEALS and DELTA who are technical “Special Operations Forces”, compared to NSG which is just a “Commando” unit, they do a lot more varied roles like behind the lines operations, intel gathering and unconventional warfare roles. NSG also lacks in assets as compared to both the aforesaid units as its mandate is quite limited to perform roles within the nation itself. NSG does not have assets or training to perform complex roles as SEALS or DELTA. NSG has raised further units now for Marine Operations but still, that does not make them comparable to either of these units.

NSG is more comparable to units like GIGN and GSG-9. NSG also lags behind both these units when it comes to operational experience since NSG has done only 2 successful operations (Op.Black Tornado and repulsing Pathankot attack) in past one decade. If we talk about the creme de la creme of NSG which is 51 SAG & 52 SAG then they already combat hardened men from Indian Army Para SF/Paratroopers and Infantry units who have seen enough action in some of the most hostile zones on earth.


MARCOS: MARCOS has always been compared to SEALS since a long time but what people mistake is that MARCOS is comparable to SEALS, in the role, not in terms of capabilities. Units like SEALS, DELTA and SAS boast of a high support base and assets which gives them a global reach compared to MARCOS which has performed operations just in the Indian subcontinent and some other areas like Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and other neighbouring areas.

Navy SEALS have various teams like SEAL TEAM 1, SEAL TEAM 4 and SEAL TEAM 6 (in total eight SEAL teams) and each team specializes in a particular type of combat. For example, Team 2 specializes in Arctic Warfare. MARCOS teams don’t carry such specializations like the SEAL in a particular type of warfare and they intend to be “Special Forces” who can act in any scenario with the same effect compared to SOF who carry specialized roles. In India, there is only one SOF named Special Group (4 Vikas) which specializes in room intervention and hostage rescue.

MARCOS has seen one of the best parts of the combat ever since they were formed in the late 1980s in Sri Lanka and Kashmir and even in places like the Maldives and Sierra Leone though they are yet to gain that combat exposure comparable to either SEALS and DELTA. MARCOS have done well in their job and their flaw-less combat records speak volumes about this aspect.

However what Indian Special Forces at end lack is proper assets which can make them comparable to Western Special Forces. Indian Special Forces are more focused on battling proxies from across the border and there have been very few instances when they were deployed globally except during UN Peacekeeping Missions.

There have been many other issues which set back Indian Special Forces like lack of a Joint Special Operations Command, over-using of Special Forces in tactical manners rather than Strategical manners and dual lack of assets giving Indian elite forces the manner of global coverage in the way the western forces possess. Otherwise, in terms of equipment (except the optics), training and quality of men, we can boast of equally capable men in Indian Special Forces as well who have performed exceptionally well in their combat sphere and have proved themselves time and again whether on Indian soil or foreign soil.

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