COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) is a specialized unit of the CRPF created to counter the Naxalite problem in India. This specialized CRPF unit is the only one in the country that can fight the guerrilla like a guerrilla. The men of the elite fighting units have the doggedness, courage and cunning to match Naxalite action squads in the forests.
Cobra is the best-equipped paramilitary unit in the country, set up with a grant of Rs 1300 crore from the Central government. They have an enviable arsenal, almost matching a regular infantry unit— light mortars, machine guns, rocket launchers, INSAS rifles, FN35 and Block pistols, rapid-fire Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine guns and even Carl Gustav recoilless rifle which can bring down wall and houses. But what really set the Cobras apart are two things – hi-tech electronic surveillance equipment and a well-trained sniper team, armed with Dragunov, Mauser SP66 and Heckler & Koch MSG-90 sniper rifles.
Cobras are trained in the Army's elite Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School in Mizoram and CRPF's anti terrorist school in Silchar. They are adept in the art of camouflage and jungle movement. Small strike teams can infiltrate forests, collect information and help plot a battle plan. They can fight in the jungle, carry out surveillance operations and take out high profile enemy targets in sniper hits.
COBRA in News
The full-fledged operation of the special anti-Naxal force, the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) battalion, in naxalite affected states is set to start soon to combat the growing Left-wing extremism in the country.
According to sources, about 2,000 personnel of COBRA have already been deployed in Chhattisgarh and Orissa. Nearly 2,000 commandos of the force, who completed their training at the Jungle Warfare Training School from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and Silchar in Assam, and equipped with 19 different modern assault weapons, are waiting for a final decision to start their operations. According to the deployment plan, two battalions of the elite force would be stationed in Jharkhand and three in Chhattisgarh. One each battalion would be posted in Orissa, Bihar and Maharashtra besides two in Uttar Pradesh.
Over 70 districts in the country are affected by Left wing extremism, which has been described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a "virus" and the biggest internal security threat. The Government recently approved formation of a 10,000-strong special anti-Naxal force 'COBRA' to tackle the menace.
Jun 21, 2009 / Indian Express
Telegraph / 2008 Sept. 7: Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand will take the lion's share of the deployment of the newly formed Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) to counter Naxalites. Cobra will be headquartered in the national capital region and will have battalion headquarters in every Naxalite-hit state. Five of the 10 battalions will be deployed in the two states, sources said.
Of the two battalions to be deployed in Jharkhand, one each will be headquartered in Khunti (Ranchi) and Hazaribagh.
In Chhattisgarh, two battalions will be headquartered in Jagdalpur while one will be in Raigarh.
The Centre gave the nod for raising a 10,000-strong special anti-Naxalite force under the command and control of the CRPF in late August.
The force will not only have the best fighting equipment, but will also be trained in Naxalite intelligence techniques and strategy.
Home ministry sources said the Centre would not wait lonto use the COBRA against the Naxalites. Two battalions of more than 1,000 personnel each have already undergone training on the lines of the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh and will be deployed in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
"The rest eight battalions will be trained over a period of two years and deployed in other states as well," said an official.
Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have been on top of the list of Naxalites. In the last one week alone, 22 security personnel, including 13 policemen and nine CRPF personnel, have been killed in these two states.
In 2007, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand together accounted for 68 per cent of the total incidents and 75.57 per cent of the total casualties in Naxalite violence across 13 states.
One battalion each of the COBRA is to be deployed in Koraput in Orissa where communal violence has spread following a Maoist attack on Hindu missionaries. Paramilitary forces have not forgotten the attack on Naxalites in Malkangiri in Orissa where Greyhounds were killed along with state policemen recently.
There will also be one battalion each in Bhandara in Maharashtra, Gaya in Bihar and, Bareilly and Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh. While Mirzapur is close to Bihar and Jharkhand, the force at Bareilly will oversee Maoist activity that has spread to Uttarakhand, sources said.
K. Durga Prasad, a 1981 batch IPS officer from Andhra Pradesh credited with the success of the Greyhounds, will take charge of the central force. The commandos of the force will have the incentive of 15 per cent more salary than is normally drawn by a CRPF soldier.
"The home ministry has to decide where the SAF will be based and has to provide the necessary funds. It could be headquartered in Gurgaon, Noida or Ghaziabad," said a CRPF official.