Force One, the state’s specialised counter-terror unit formed as a response to the 26/11 attacks, becomes operational on Tuesday, but its precise mandate is far from clear.
Its formation raises questions on its mandate, given that the National Security Guard (NSG) is also setting up base in Mumbai. Which of the two will now respond to a 26/11-like situation?
Will it be Force One first, or will the NSG be the primary response, given that it is India’s most elite counter-terror force, with specialist training in close quarter combat and room intervention?
J.K. Dutt, former NSG director general, said: “The state must make mandates clear when creating such a counter-terror unit. It will decide on which agency to call for a situation, but once NSG is called, only the Black Cats will handle the operation. Even the MARCOS (an elite special operations unit of the Indian Navy) moved out when NSG arrived on 26/11.”
A nine-hour delay in the NSG reaching Mumbai during 26/11 saw the formation of Force One.
But a parallel requisition made to the Centre for an NSG hub in Mumbai, resulted in the hub being created within six months, with a 250-strong unit posted in Mumbai in June.