Indian Defence

CoBRA Commandos: The Jungle Warriors

You may have come across the stunning photographs of the CoBRA commandos on various social media platforms. Some of you might have developed a curiosity about them. So this article will try to give you an idea about these jungle warriors. We will see who are the CoBRAs? How they are selected and trained? What’s their mandate and of course how you can join this elite special force?

CoBRA logo
CoBRA logo

CoBRA stands for Commando Battalions for Resolute Action. It is a part of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). They are also called the “Jungle Warriors”. It was raised on 12th September 2008. Their motto is “संग्रामे पराक्रमे जयी” which means “Victory for gallant in war”.

CoBRA Commandos
CoBRA Commandos

History Of CoBRA-

CRPF is deployed in Naxal-affected areas for a long time along with other CAPFs. Basically, they were deployed to assist state police in anti-Naxal and counter-insurgency operations.

But in these jungles of the red corridor, the Naxalites had one advantage. They were well acquainted with these jungles. On the other hand, troops had to first acclimatize themselves with this new operating environment. Thus it was decided to raise a special commando unit of CRPF. This will consist of commandos specially trained and equipped to survive, operate, and fight in these jungles. Thus its raising started in 2008.

CoBRA commando with automatic grenade launcher
CoBRA commando with automatic grenade launcher

Organizational Structure-

Currently, there are 10 CoBRA battalions. They are deployed in all left-wing extremism (LWE)/Naxalism-affected areas. These consist states of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, and Meghalaya.

CoBRA- Organizational Structure
CoBRA- Organizational Structure. Source- CRPF website

Mandate-

Their mandate is to perform anti-Naxal and counter-insurgency operations. For this, they perform reconnaissance and long-range patrols. They also gather intelligence about the activities of insurgents. Also, special intelligence courses are conducted by premier intelligence agencies. CoBRAs also carry out ambushes and precision strikes whenever needed.

Challenges-

CoBRA Commandos
CoBRA Commandos operating in jungle.

The CoBRA also faces various challenges here. Apart from the adversary, the biggest challenge is the inhospitable terrain also. The jungles of Central India can be deadly at times. There are various threats such as poisonous snakes, wild animals, and also mosquitoes. Saving troops from diseases like dengue is also a big challenge. Further, the lack of proper drinking water and basic sanitation is also a challenge when you are operating deep inside the jungles. Especially the monsoons are much more ruthless. Connectivity is another major issue. But with various technological advancements, the CoBRA is dealing with these problems more successfully.

Major Achievements-

Naxals Killed384
Apprehended3107
Surrendered2473
Various types of arms recovered1315
Explosive Recovered11774 Kg.
IEDs/BOMBS/GRENADE recovered4328
Detonators37768
Achievements of CoBRA. Source- CRPF website

Gallantry Awards-

Kirti chakra 1
Shaurya chakra8
President’s Police medal for Gallantry6
President’s Police medal250
Parakram Padak189
Jeevan Raksha Padak6
Antarik Suraksha Padak13578
DG Commendation disc3338

54 commandos have martyred during operations.

Arms And Equipment-

CoBRA Commandos
CoBRA Commandos with AKM and Tavor
  • Glock Pistol
  • Browning Hi-Power
  • Mauser SP66
  • INSAS Rifle
  • FN FAL
  • OFB SLR 1A1
  • AKM assault rifle
  • X-95 assault rifle
  • Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun
  • Carl Gustov rocket launcher
  • Dragunov SVD sniper rifle
  • Heckler & Koch MSG-90 sniper rifles

How Can One Become A CoBRA Commando?

There is no direct entry route to join the CoBRA. It is a part of the CRPF. So for becoming a CoBRA commando, one has to first join CRPF. You may join at any level i.e. Assistant Commandant, Assistant Sub-inspector, or at constable rank also. During the last phase of the training, you can volunteer for the CoBRA. As it is a special commando force, the benchmarks of physical fitness as well as mental toughness are high. The CoBRA team then examines the candidates on their parameters and those who qualify them are eligible to join this elite jungle warrior unit.

Once selected, a person goes on deputation with CoBRA generally for 4 years. After that one can come back to the parent unit.

Can Women Join CoBRA ?

Asst. Commandant Usha Kiran
Asst. Commandant Usha Kiran

Recently, Asst. Commandant Usha Kiran became the first lady officer to join the CoBRA. This has opened the way for lady officers to join. According to the Times of India’s report, CRPF is also thinking to allow women of other ranks including constables to join the CoBRA.

Training-

After selection, one has to undergo rigorous training. Training is conducted at CRPF jungle warfare schools at Belgaum and Koraput. This training is similar to that of the NSG commandos. They are trained in camouflage as well as jungle warfare. The commandos are also trained for heliborne insertions and drops. After the completion of three months of training, the CoBRAs are ready to be deployed at their units.

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Prasad Gore

A defence enthusiast. Writing on Defence, Aviation and International Relations. M.A., NET (Defence and strategic studies).

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