As India mourned victims of the 26/11 terror attack, the Maharashtra government on Thursday unveiled Force One, an elite force to secure Mumbai against terrorists.
Designed on the lines of the National Security Guard (NSG), Force One with 256 men and officers took out a march from Nariman Point to Chowpatty, along the four-kilometre sea front.
For a city where public parades are rare, the occasion was irresistible. Thousands lined the Marine Drive and many more craned their necks out of skyscrapers of Nariman Point and scores of old buildings.
Clad in their black dungarees, the Force One guards - handpicked from the Mumbai Police - marched smartly and confidently.
Many people, especially women and children, cheered and waved out to the men.
The force has been specifically trained by the NSG and foreign experts to take on terrorists.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan declared the Force One operational on Tuesday.
Chavan said it would help make Mumbai -- India's financial capital and Bollywood hub -- more secure and complement the efforts of the other security agencies in the city including police, quick response teams as well as the Anti-Terrorism Squad.
"Force One shall be provided with all the required equipment, infrastructure and facilities to enable them carry out their duties effectively," Chavan said.
Force One's headquarters and training centre are located on an 100-acre campus inside the lush green Aarey Milk Colony at Goregaon in northwest Mumbai.
The need for a special force on the lines of the NSG was felt after the Nov 26-29 Mumbai terror attacks of last year that left 166 Indians and foreigners dead.
Force One is headed by a deputy inspector general of police.