Updated October 30th, 2023 at 12:11 IST

CRPF's Elite Units: Valley QAT and CoBRA, forging excellence in counterterrorism

The CRPF deploys specialized units, Valley Quick Action Team (Valley QAT) and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), to tackle diverse challenges.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
CRPF's Valley QAT and CoBRA | Image: X/@narendramodi

Forging excellence in counterterrorism

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), India's largest paramilitary force, shoulders the tremendous responsibility of maintaining internal security, often in the country's most challenging terrains. To confront the multifaceted threat of terrorism, the CRPF has nurtured two specialized units: the Valley Quick Action Team (Valley QAT) and the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA). Each unit has honed its expertise to confront unique challenges, making them indispensable in India's fight against terrorism.

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CRPF CoBRA commandos

CRPF CoBRA commandos



CRPF: CoBRA and Valley QAT

CRPF: CoBRA and Valley QAT

Valley QAT: Mastering urban warfare

The Valley QAT, or Valley Quick Action Team, embodies the CRPF's commitment to adapt and evolve in response to the complex challenges posed by urban terrorism. Initially conceived in 2011 to provide security for convoys and dignitaries, Valley QAT took on a new identity following a watershed moment in 2016. An audacious attack on a BSF camp near the Srinagar International Airport witnessed the unit's mettle as it swiftly neutralized the attackers, laying the foundation for its transformation into a specialized urban combat operations force. 

Operating primarily in the rugged terrain of Jammu and Kashmir, the Valley QAT has executed 42 missions, resulting in the elimination of 77 terrorists, including militant commanders. Their gallant actions have earned them numerous gallantry awards. One remarkable aspect of the unit is its inclusivity. In 2021, Valley QAT opened its doors to women, marking a historic step in diversifying its ranks. As of April 2023, the unit comprises 108 men and 18 women who collectively serve as the guardians of the Kashmir Valley. 

Valley QAT: Forging the elite

Valley QAT isn't an ordinary unit; its members are CRPF troopers who volunteer to join its ranks. These individuals must meet stringent physical fitness criteria to even be considered for selection. Those who clear this first hurdle undergo a grueling selection process, followed by specialized training tailored to their unique role. 

The process involves deploying the selected troopers to a CRPF unit operating within Jammu and Kashmir, allowing them to acclimatize themselves to the region's distinctive challenges. Afterward, they undertake a comprehensive 7-week training program at the Counter Insurgency and Terrorism (CIAT) training center in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh. This intensive training encompasses various aspects of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. 

But what truly sets Valley QAT apart is its focus on urban warfare. Troopers are trained in high-risk house intervention, raids, cordon and search missions, improvised explosive device detection, advanced weapons handling, and close-quarters combat. These skills are honed to perfection, ensuring that Valley QAT members can seamlessly participate in urban counterterrorism operations. It's imperative for them to operate efficiently under physically demanding conditions, all while displaying a deep understanding of the tactical aspects associated with counterterrorism operations. 

CoBRA: Masters of guerrilla and jungle warfare

CoBRA, or the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action, forms another crucial piece in the CRPF's counterterrorism arsenal. Established initially to counter the Naxalite insurgency, CoBRA has since broadened its horizons to engage insurgent groups involved in asymmetrical warfare. Operating in the rugged terrain of India, including dense forests and remote areas, this specialized unit excels in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare. 

CoBRA's versatility and success are notable. The unit's personnel are selected from the CRPF and subjected to stringent physical conditioning. They are trained in planning and executing operations, GPS and map reading, intelligence gathering, and Fast-Roping, among other skills. CoBRA members are known for their prowess in guerrilla warfare, explosive tracking, bomb disposal, field engineering, survival, and jungle warfare. 

Furthermore, they undergo special intelligence courses delivered by premier intelligence agencies, enabling them to excel in intelligence gathering. To maintain a high standard and ensure that the unit functions seamlessly, the establishment of a dedicated CoBRA school of jungle warfare and tactics is in progress. 

CoBRA: Intensive training

CoBRA personnel receive training at CRPF jungle warfare institutions located in Belgaum and Koraput, following a training regime similar to other elite commando forces in India, such as the National Security Guard. This training is marked by its focus on mastering the art of camouflage, jungle warfare, and guerrilla tactics. Helicopter-borne insertion and drops are integral aspects of their training. Refresher courses, both annual and bi-annual, further solidify their proficiency, ensuring that CoBRA functions as a well-oiled machine. 

Both Valley QAT and CoBRA units operate in challenging terrains that demand specialized skill sets. Valley QAT thrives in the urban jungles of Jammu and Kashmir, countering terrorism amid the bustling streets and houses, while CoBRA commandos are tasked with neutralising the threat in jungle terrain. Valley QAT and CoBRA stand as two sides of the same coin, each excelling in a specific domain of counterterrorism. While Valley QAT demonstrates its prowess in urban environments, CoBRA conquers the challenging jungles. Both units are pivotal in ensuring the safety and security of the nation, reflecting India's commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms and environments.




Published October 30th, 2023 at 12:11 IST