Security agencies have launched a special operation, codenamed 'DOGA' - combining the words 'dog' and 'yoga', by deploying trained canine squads to sanitise and ensure fool-proof security at the venue of the International Yoga Day event on Rajpath in New Delhi on June 21.
Official sources said the operation is being spearheaded by the elite canine squad of paramilitary force ITBP. As the venue around India Gate-Rajpath in the heart of the national capital is expected to draw close to 40,000 people including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Cabinet colleagues and others this Sunday, its peripheries and core areas have been handed over for security checks to these four-legged soldiers.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police, nominated as the national 'centre for excellence' for sniffer and police dogs training, has put on job a special breed of Belgian Shepherd, 'Malinois' who had gained prominence across the world after they were reported to have participated in the strike of US Navy SEAL that killed al-Qaida chief Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
"Apart from the 'Malinois' breed, about a dozen German Shepherd and Labrador dogs have been deployed for sniffing and anti-sabotage tasks round-the-clock on Rajpath and surrounding areas. They are working in regular shifts along with their handlers... They will keep doing their job till the event ends on June 21," a senior official privy to 'Op DOGA' said.
The official said sniffer dog units of other security agencies like Delhi Police have also been roped in. ITBP's canine squad had been deployed during the swearing-in ceremony of the Modi Cabinet on the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt last year and the visit of US President Barack Obama to India in January this year.
Considering the importance of the event on June 21, the official said, the need was felt to deploy highly-skilled 'Malinois' for the task.