The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to bolster the strength of the National Security Guard and create regional centres in the south, east and western parts to reduce the response time in case of terror attacks.
The move to decentralise deployment of the NSG is aimed at reducing the time taken to induct them in rapidly evolving situations like the Mumbai terror attacks that ended on Saturday evening.
The Cabinet Committee on Security would next week take up the issue of expansion and deployment of NSG.
"We are planning centres Kolkata, Hyderabad and either Mumbai or Nagpur," a senior home ministry source said. Other states will be told to set up special commando forces on the lines of the NSG with significant assistance from MHA.
In case of the Mumbai attacks, the first contingent of the NSG commandos had spent almost four hours travelling.
The force is headquartered at its main campus at Manesar Garrison, almost a 45-minute drive from the Palam airport in southwest Delhi. Besides the two hours flying time, it had taken them about 45 minutes again to reach the sites from the Mumbai airport.
“To borrow a term used in medical emergencies, the first few hours are the golden hours when the chance of survivability of a patient is maximum. We are thinking how to reduce the travel time to reduce the response time,” said ML Kumawat, special secretary in the home ministry.
Kumawat made it clear that the NSG – once it arrived at the attack sites – had executed the operation, leaving other forces of the army, navy and police to provide ground support.
But MHA officials point that it would be impossible to set up a centre in every mega city if the force had to maintain its high levels of standards.
“We are thinking why not prepare an NSG-like force at the state-level, that could be the first responders in case of emergencies leaving the field to the NSG when it arrives at the spot in due course,” Kumawat added.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s announcement on Saturday evening to set up a n NSG-like force was in this context.
“To begin with, we can equip them with the modern equipments that the NSG has… even allow them to use training facilities of central forces,” Kumawat said.