Special forces units and divisions for defence forces of different countries around the world are a collection of what you would call the crème de la crème of their soldiers. The ones who prove themselves to be of higher capability than the average Joe. 

When it comes to the MARCOs from the Indian Navy, you are looking at the very best warriors the nation has created.

Selected from the Indian Navy, prospective marine commandos are usually in their early 20s, and male.

Being a part of the Navy, MARCOs specialize in amphibious warfare, counter-terrorism, direct action, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, hostage rescue and a whole host of badassness that should usually be impossible to do. At par more or less with India’s first special forces unit, the Para Commandos, marine commandos are one of the most elite forces in the country with arguably some of the best equipment in the world.


Recruits fight through ridiculously mind-numbing training that could range anywhere between two-and-a-half to three years.

The young recruits who volunteer for the programme first need to perform with a pre-training exercise which qualifies them for the actual training. You read that right, there’s a training programme for the training programme, which most trainees don’t get through.


The pre-training exercise has a drop out rate of about 80%.

The pre-training is broken into parts, the first of which is a three-day physical fitness and aptitude test. This phase usually ends up in screening out 80% of the applicants. The second part slowly begins to get worse and is known as “hell week” – a five-week physical training and sleep deprivation exercise that puts an unbelievable amount of strain on the applicants.


A little about hell week: it feels what it sounds like.

Much of the training exercises for MARCOs are compared with similar exercises done by the US Navy Seals. To give you an idea, a hell week exercise would include five days of extreme fatigue and mental exhaustion drills, where trainees would be given no more than four hours of sleep for the whole duration, with food and water supplies running extremely low. While the waking hours our spent in extreme physical conditions. Just thinking about it hurts.


This just happens to be the beginning to a two and half year training course that MARCO officers undergo – longer depending on the soldier’s specialisation. And, on an average less than 5% of all recruits who apply actually make it to the end. If there is any segment of the Indian Armed forces that is as hardcore as a human being can possibly get, it’s probably the MARCOs.

Do you think you have what it takes?