The Psychology of Para Indian Special Forces


The safety, honor and well-being of your country come first, always and every time.

The honor, well-being and comfort of the men you command come next.

Your ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time… ”

What are para special forces?

The psychological dimension of a conflict is as important as its physical dimension and is even more relevant today, especially when the threat in the socio-psychological domain is serious. In the fight against terrorism, this is of great importance, because terrorists use violence as a psychological weapon. In a sense, they are also waging psychological warfare. The relevance of military psychology is much greater than the successful conduct of tactical operations.

Special Forces (SF) are extremely crucial in unconventional wars using counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare. Smaller, highly mobile sci-fi units with advanced weapons can blend into a hostile environment and achieve their goals. This article is an attempt to delve into the mindset of our elite SF soldiers to find out how they do it, in the Indian context. Like all Special Forces (SF), Indian Forces are shrouded in secrecy, especially when it comes to their operational details.

The Para SF have a reputation for being India’s toughest armed forces and are warriors at heart. They operate in small groups of 6-15 and each specializes in at least 2 life skills. They are heavily armed and are trained to survive on their own in hostile conditions with minimal assistance for several days while focusing on the operation. They are also trained in free fall combat, search and rescue and other aspects of survival. In such cases, death is always a close companion.

Probation period

Each year, soldiers apply for the rigorous selection test called probation in SF. This is a purely voluntary force. But in almost every batch, over 90% of people give up. They are deprived of the basic needs of food, shelter, sleep, etc. the days spent together and subjected to intense physical and mental tests. The last days include the “hell week “ – with routine 20 km runs with a 40 kg load and a 1,100 km run with a full combat load.

Representation image

SF training is physically, mentally, and psychologically exhausting.

These tests are timed and you fail if they are not completed within the allotted time. 1 agent is still waiting with a resignation form to put more pressure on you to quit. The whole idea behind probation is to break the person and their perceptions of the world in every way – physically, mentally and psychologically. They break you and then force you. That’s the point.

It might sound inhuman, but that’s the theme of SF – you never know how strong you are until strength is the only option you have left. those who remain behind then become India’s fiercest warriors whom the enemy dreadfully calls “phantom agents”.

The SF mindset

SF wants to see – what are you made of; are you willing to go the extra mile to achieve the goal even after complete exhaustion. Thus, after selection, training continues. They are taught to be quick and decisive, as delay can be the difference between life and death. Discipline and punctuality are their core values. An SF warrior sets the example. From the front and does not hesitate to take a bullet for his colleague.

SF always works in pairs – a group of 2 men will always be together – to take care not of yourself, but of each other. Friends do everything together and it’s a lifelong bond. SF has a policy of leaving no man behind, whether he loses or a guy gets hurt, he will always be brought back. Either everyone comes back or nobody does. SF training has an important lesson – 1 for all and all for 1. If 1 man makes a mistake, everyone is punished. If 1 man sleeps hungry, none of them touch the food – this is how bonds develop when you are in pain, collectively it facilitates tolerance – a psychological proven fact.

This kind of life forces them to be better than the best. They are completely autonomous in hostile terrain and always on standby. In such a case, their state of mind is more important than other aspects. To survive SF, they say, “Aapka Dil, Dimaag, Ghutne, Ek line mai hona chahiye(What you think, say and do must be the same). This ability is rare to find in today’s world – it’s what makes SF different from the rest of us.

Without a doubt, they are physically fit and mentally tough too, but their mental strength matters more than physical strength. Maslow’s pyramid says humans have an endless hierarchy of needs and follow 1 need after the previous one is satisfied, but what would you do in a hostile environment where even your basic needs are not taken care of and you have a goal to achieve?

This is where SF stands out. as Major Vivek Jacob says: “ kaam wo karo jo karna il fal lage(Do the task that interests you more than the outcome / incentive). SF teaches you to focus on the task at hand with the utmost dedication and honesty without expecting anything in return. These people live far from human contact, in jungles carrying heavy combat loads and doing their jobs in secret without recognition or hunger for popularity.

They are ready to sacrifice all they have for a greater common purpose and to protect our nation. Many SF officers have said that everyone is as capable as they are and that they are not superhumans. Not everyone needs to join them but can still learn something from them. “Special forces are a state of mind, it’s a way of life, how you live and think,” says Major Vivek of 9 PARA SF.


Since not everyone can be a part of sci, here are some life lessons to learn: –

  1. BE self-reliant and true to yourself in all aspects.
  2. SET a goal and work on it, speed is useless without good direction.
  3. DEVELOP and push your limits, every day, little by little.
  4. LEARN to burn like the sun to shine like one.
  5. IF the goal is so important to you, what sacrifice are you willing to make for it? even without prompting.
  6. GIVE your 100%, always.
  7. YOUR thought, your word and your action must be aligned.
  8. LEARN life skills like CQB, first aid, etc. for your own good and for others.
  9. Don’t wait for the opportunity, create one.
  10. TRAIN and discipline your mind and body, follow a routine.

(This article is not scientific writing but a genuine attempt to bring out unknown aspects of military life from personal interactions and other sources and their relevance to our lives. Hope you enjoy this . Thank you.)

Created by RAHUL W

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