Various Ways to Join Garud Special Forces of Indian Air Force

Garud is an Elite Special Forces Unit of the Indian Air Force. The Unit was Raised in 2003 and is the Youngest Special Forces Unit in India. Despite being Youngest Special Forces Unit, it is a force not to reckon with. Every commando is Para Jump Qualified and are also trained in basic combat diving as well. Their training is on par with other Indian Special Forces Unit.

Garud, however, has a different selection procedure than other two forces for both Officers and Airmen. If you are interested in joining other Special Forces of India, click on this link

How join Garud commando

Ways to Join Garud Special Forces/Commando Force:


Officers are the leader of any unit. They lead their men into combat and most important decisions of any operation lie in their hands. They are responsible for the life of each and every man under them. To become and Officer in Indian Air Force, a Candidate needs a bachelors degree in any field with minimum 60% in their graduation. There are two ways to become officer in Indian Air Force. One can apply through CDS Entry or AFCAT Entry. CDS is only for those interested in joining flying branch and becoming a Pilot so Garud officers are exclusively selected from AFCAT Entry. AFCAT exam is conducted twice every year by Indian Air Force and details regarding that can be found in Indian Air Force’s Offical AFCAT Website

Officers are selected from Ground Duty Branch of Indian Air Force. Flying Branch or Mechanical Branch Officers are not eligible to join Garud. Hence all Garud Officers are AFCAT Applicants who opted for Ground Duty Branch while filling up the form. Selection into the commando force as an officer is very tough. Most you you will be surprised to know that in its 14 Years of existence (as of 2018), only 27 officers have been able to join the Garud.


There are two ways to Join Garud as an Officer:

  1. After an Officer Cadet joins Air Force Academy, Dundigal, he has to opt for Garud and after the cadet is assessed by SF Officers at the  Academy as to whether the cadet has what it takes, he is sent for probation after being commissioned into the Force.The Garud Officers in the academy do a per-probation as well where they give hell to Garud Cadets to make sure that the cadets have the required mindset and will to be part of such an elite force.

  2. It is not necessary for Garud Officers to be selected at the Academy itself. An Officer can Opt for Garud even after being commissioned in Air Force but he has to be under a certain age limit.


Airmen are the backbone of Garud Special Forces. The entire commando forces is mostly made of Airmen and hence, the airmen are expected to be of highest physical and mental standards. To become an Airmen in Indian Air Force, an Individual needs to have completed 10+2 with good marks especially in english. There is no limit on number of times a candiate can apply but there is an age limit that is set at 21. Candidates cannot become Airmen in Indian Air Force after 21 Years of age.

There are two ways for selection of Garud as Airmen:

1. Direct Recruitment: Unlike other Special Forces, Garud recruit it’s men directly. This ensures that the men learn one thing since the day they join the force and that is to be the best in their trade. Once a candidate has joined Garud, he remains part of the unit until retirement. Direct recruitment rallies for Garuds are done under IAF (Security) banner. A large number of candidates apply for this as most are unaware of what IAF (Security) really is. Hence, Candidates who already know can easily get ahead of their competition by practicing early and working hard.

The downfall of Direct Recruitment

One Downfall of Direct Recruitment is the risk of being kicked out of force. Unlike Para and MARCOS where if a candidate doesn’t survive the probation, they are sent back to their main unit, Garud Trainees selected through Direct Recruitment do not have this option. So if a Trainee breaks during probation and decides not to go any further or does not clear the necessary tests during training, instead of switching branches, he is kicked out of the force. Hence if a trainee quits, he is not only removed from Garud but is also removed from Indian Air Force as well. Probation is tough and many candidates are destined to quit.

Direct Recruitment has declined significantly and very few recruitment rallies are now conducted for IAF  (Security) and that too only in few states.

How join Garud commando
Garud Trainee in his Billet

2. Selection as Airmen: This is the safest selection method for Garuds. Garuds are not always selected directly. Just Like Officers, Airmen after joining Air Force can opt for Garud after 1 year of service. This ensures that if a trainee quits during probation, he can go back to his parent unit without losing his job. One downfall of this is that only Y Group (Non-Tech) Airmen are eligible to apply for Garuds. X Group (Tech) cannot opt for Garud since Garud come Under Y Group (Non-Tech).



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