Friday, October 16, 2009

NSG to get hi-tech arms: Chidambaram

Admitting that the role of the National Security Guard (NSG) has been re-defined following the Mumbai terror attacks in November last year, the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram today said the process of inducting state-of-the-art weapons for the elite commando force is in its final stages.

Listing out the changes following the attacks last year, Chidambaram said now the NSG has been authorised to requisition civil aircraft to ensure speed. Besides, it will soon have high-technology and new weapons. The process of inducting sophisticated state-of-the-art weapons is in the final stages. He was speaking at the 25th raising Day celebrations of the NSG here.

The decision to allow the NSG chief to requisition aircraft holds significance in light of the Mumbai terror strike last year when NSG commandos, headquartered in Manesar - some 35 kms from new Delhi — could reach Mumbai only seven hours later. An IAF aircraft was called in from Chandigarh.

The delay could have been avoided if senior officials had been empowered to requisition aircraft from any operator.

Further, more four-regional hubs of the NSG have been established at Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. These will have an essential force of 5,000 each, Chidambaram said. Later the Director-General of the NSG NPS Aulakh said that hubs have started functioning with small detachments.

Re-counting the role of the NSG to an audience of about 5,000, including families of the commandoes, the Home Minister said he himself has small role to play when the force was founded 25 years ago. He re-collected its existence, saying “How can we forget Operation Black Thunder… when the siege on the Golden Temple was lifted in 1988 and Operation Vajra Shakti, when the Akshardham temple in Gujarat was saved in 2002.” Operationally, Black Thunder in Amritsar was deemed to be a success as some 120 militants were forced to surrender.

On the Mumbai attacks he said the country would never forget the supreme sacrifice made by the NSG commandos during the Mumbai terror attacks and went on to make a special mention of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havildar Gajender Singh, who lost their lives.

Chidambaram, who has been on spree to “reform” the security agencies, today said the country needs the NSG as an elite and well trained, fully equipped and always alert group of commandos in order to tackle the threat of terrorism.”

France offers assistance

GIGN, National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, which is an anti-terrorist force of France, has offered to provide special training to NSG commandos. The NSG is considering to move a proposal to the government of India for sending a team of commandos to France for training on a reciprocal basis, DG, NSG, NPS Aulakh confirmed

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