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NSG to double troops, open regional centres

The Ministry of Home Affairs will soon sanction two regional centres for the National Security Guard in Kolkata and Hyderabad, more than double the strength of the force and scale down its VIP protection role. Manish Tiwari reports.

india Updated: May 29, 2009 00:25 IST
Manish Tiwari

The Ministry of Home Affairs will soon sanction two regional centres for the National Security Guard (NSG) in Kolkata and Hyderabad, more than double the strength of the force and scale down its VIP protection role.

The force will add 10,000 elite commandos to its present strength of around 8,000 once the new centres come up.

The NSG was set up in 1984 to fight terrorism in India, drawing manpower from central paramilitary forces and the army. The force at present has its only base in Manesar in Haryana.

The two new centres will be added to the four regional hubs to be ready by the end of June in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. The force has started training additional manpower and plans to position 250 commandos at each hub.

Sources in the Home Ministry, who refused to be identified, said the NSG urged the ministry over a month ago for reviewing its policy of providing VIP security.

At present, there are 20 VIPs under NSG cover, including Bharatiya Janata Party leaders L.K. Advani,

Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The Home Ministry sources added that after reviewing the VIP threat perception, a large number of commandos would be freed up and would be deployed at the four hubs.

The Congress, in its 2009 manifesto, guaranteed the maximum possible security to the citizen by raising more specialised battalions and position them in key locations.

Home Minister P Chidambaram also committed before the elections that if voted to power, his government would launch a comprehensive review of VIP security.