The first two chiefs of the army after Independence were British. Cariappa replaced the last British commander General Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher who served in the top position from January 1, 1948 to January 15 1949.

The army celebrates January 15 as Army Day every year as it was on this day that the first Indian general took charge of the Indian Army. General KM Cariappa (later Field Marshal) took over as the commander-in-chief of the Indian Army in 1949.

The first two chiefs of the army after Independence were British. Cariappa replaced the last British commander General Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher who served in the top position from January 1, 1948 to January 15 1949. Bucher’s predecessor General Sir Robert McGregor Macdonald Lockhart served as the chief from Aug 15, 1947 to December 31.

Cariappa, fondly known as Kipper, was only 49 when he took charge of the army. He served as army chief for a full four years, retiring on January 16, 1953.

During the partition, he played a key role in reaching an amicable settlement for the division of the army between India and Pakistan. He was then a member of the army sub-committee of the Forces Reconstitution Committee.

He was elevated to the five-star rank of Field Marshal in April 1986, in recognition of his distinguished military service. Only three military officers have held the five-star rank: Cariappa, Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh and Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.

Apart from the usual articles on : PARA SF, MARCOS, GARUD, GHATAK, NSG, etc., let me talk about one of the most clandestine units of India. Introducing :



Before talking about the Special Group, let’s understand the organization they are a part of – the Special Frontier Force(SFF)


Brief History – SFF: After the ‘62 war, on 14th Nov. 1962, under the command of Maj. Gen. Sujan Singh Uban (Retd.), India setup a secret force, initially composed of ethnic Tibetians who were part of the Tibetian Resistance and Dalai Lama’s personal bodyguard. With help from intelligence agencies like CIA and RAW, they were trained in mountain warfare, sabotage and demolition. The idea was to utilize them for covert ops behind enemy lines, in case of another Sino-Indian war. It was called as the Special Frontier Force, the VIKAS Regiment or Establishment 22.

Structure – SFF: The current constituent battalions of Special Frontier Force are: 1 VIKAS, 2 VIKAS, 3 VIKAS, 4 VIKAS (Special Group), 5 VIKAS, 6 VIKAS, 7 VIKAS and 1 ARCHER


Composition – SFF: Headquartered in Chakrata, Dehradun, the SFF was initially composed of ethnic Tibetians. However, over the years the regiments have been augmented by the addition of personnel from other mountainous regions like the Gurkhas (who mostly comprise of the 1 ARCHER battalion). Additionally, officers and jawans from other units of the army, especially the Parachute Regiment, go on 2-3 year deputations to SFF. The VIKAS regiment, with a total strength of approximately 10,000, is currently organized into 8 battalions, which are mostly always commanded by officers from PARA SF.

Thus, the VIKAS Regiment can be thought of as elite airborne infantry, much along the lines of the Parachute Regiment. However, our focus in this answer is the special forces within SFF, i.e. 4th battalion of the VIKAS regiment.

Members of the SFF

SPECIAL GROUP (aka 4 VIKAS, 22 SF, The Mavericks)

Somewhere around 1978, 4 VIKAS was established by Maj Gen VK Sharma (9 PARA SF). He was an immensely experienced officer, who also held the distinction of being one of the very few Indian Army officers who were US Ranger qualified.

The Insignia of SFF

With a strength of 1200-1500 personnel. It was created specifically as a counter hijacking force and VIP security force. However, 2 companies of 4 VIKAS were later branched off to form the NSG (National Security Guard), thus taking away that role from SFF.


Personnel of 4 VIKAS are now trained in recon, direct action, hostage rescue, counter terrorism, covert ops, etc. They report directly to RAW and IB, and often act as the muscle for these intelligence agencies, much like CIA’s SAD (Special Activities Division). They often work/train alongside agencies like MOSSAD and CIA. They have access to the most advanced weaponry available in the world, including: M16A4 , FN P90, Tavor 21, Negev LMG, FN SCAR, Galil Sniper Rifle etc. The members usually operate in complete secrecy, and can be involved in operations like political influence, sabotage, espionage, counter-espionage, propaganda support, targeted assignations, etc., with the Govt. maintaining a stance of deniability in case any operative is caught. As a result, a lot of details regarding their operations are often shrouded in mystery.

An old pic of SG members being trained by MOSSAD at an unknown location near Tel Aviv








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