For the first time in two decades, the elite National Security Guard (NSG) has pulled out its commandos--numbering around 900--from guarding high risk VIPs, scaling down its security duties.
NSG commandos adjust their caps before a photo-op after the inuaguration of the NSG Mumbai Hub by Home Minister P Chidambaram in Mumbai.
The NSG, according to sources, is now guarding the least number of protectees-- 15 VVIPs/VIPs--after a long time following the de-induction of a large number of commandos and redeploying them for operations for which they were meant for.
The commando force has shifted around 900 of its commandos rendering VIP security duties for training in specialist counter-terror operations as part of its original charter, an official said today.
It has de-inducted these 'black cats' from one of its three VIP security units - the '11 Special Rangers Group (SRG)' - from its existing duties, the official said.
NSG commandos were deployed for VIP security duties in 1992. It was raised under an Act of the Parliament in 1984 as a federal contingency force.
The formations of the NSG are segregated into five units, two Special Action Groups (SAGs) manned by officers and jawans from the Army and three SRGs comprising personnel from para-military forces.
"One unit has been de-inducted from rendering VIP security duties. They will now train to perform counter-terror tasks on the lines of the SAG units. Both the Army and paramilitary components will now be able to perform the mandated charter of the force which is to tackle terror and hijack challenges," the official said.
As per the current charter of the force, each of the two SAGs (51 and 52) is tasked for counter-terror and counter-hijack operations respectively, while the SRGs (11,12 and 13) are used to render logistical support to the SAGs during operations and are deployed for guarding high-risk VIPs/VVIPs. Each of these units has around 900 personnel each.
The force has decided to use this opportunity to return to its original charter of performing counter-terror, counter-hijack, hostage rescue and sky-marshaling duties onboard aircraft.