Indian soldiers are considered among the very best in high altitude and mountain warfare.

The Indian army’s High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) is one of the most elite military training centres in the world and is frequented by Special Ops teams from the U.S, U.K & Russia. U.S Special Forces trained at HAWS before their deployment during the invasion of Afghanistan.

The High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) is a training and research establishment of the Indian Army. In 1948, Indian Army established a ski school in Gulmarg which later became the High Altitude Warfare School of the Indian army specialising in snow–craft and winter warfare. It is one of the most famous warfare academies of the world. Royal armies from UK, Germany, etc., visit regularly for training the selected soldiers.

The school was established in December 1948 by General Kodendera Subayya Thimayya, then holding the rank of Brigadier. It was initially known as the 19 Infantry Division Ski School. During the winter of 1949-50, the school was redesignated as a Command Establishment and renamed as the Winter Warfare School. On 8 April 1962, it was upgraded to a Category A Training Establishment and adopted its current name.

HAWS offers two training programs, the Mountain Warfare course and the Winter Warfare course. The Mountain Warfare course is conducted in Sonamarg between May and October each year. The Winter Warfare course is conducted in Gulmarg between January and April. The two courses train personnel in High Altitude warfare, counter intelligence and survival skills. Army personnel deployed to the Siachen Glacier and to other high altitude forward posts on the Himalayan borders go through the courses.

HAWS is the nodal instructional facility for specialised training and dissemination of approved doctrines in mountain, high altitude and snow warfare. The training programs at HAWS are open to personnel of the armed forces of friendly countries.

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