Belgian Malinois adds more bite to CISF canine squad
As the Delhi Metro prepares to resume operations on Monday, a brigade of 61 commandos are ready for deployment — the Central Industrial Security Force’s canine commandos, who will be back helping keep Delhi’s public transit lifeline.
While most of the CISF’s four-legged squad comprises German Shepherds, Labradors and Cocker Spaniels, force’s “best” sniffer dogs, there is a special addition to the lot this — Khoj — their most sought-after dog, a Belgian Malinois. The breed shot to international fame after a member was speculated to have accompanied the US Navy Seal team that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Last year, a Belgian Malinois dog named Conan took part in a raid in Syria which resulted in the death of then Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The 16-month-old Khoj — whose name means ‘search’ — joined the CISF’s dog squad two weeks ago, after completing her year-long training in Bangalore. She is the only dog with the force trained in attacking or neutralising “fidayeen attackers”, and is known to be an expert tracker — as her name suggests.
“Khoj is the only tracking dog we have. She can track a scent for at least five kilometres. She can differentiate between multiple scents, and can clearly distinguish between a variety of explosives. But her best quality is that she’s an attack dog. She’s been trained to attack fidayeen attackers and pin them down,” said Raman Kumar, deputy commandant, CISF, who is in charge of the Quick Response Team, bomb detection teams and dog squad.
Apart from Khoj, eight other dogs, five of them German Shepherds — Yoddha, Sarah, Dolly, Bella and Charlie, and three Labradors — Max, Johnny and Julie, joined the force two weeks ago.
When Metro operations were shut and these dogs were not in service, they followed a strict training routine and were given a tailored diet to keep them in shape and keep their instincts active.
Another official, who asked not to be named, said so far, over ₹1 lakh has been spent on buying and training the Belgian Malinois, making it the most expensive member of the CISF dog squad — funds for which came from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.