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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Dog breed that may have been on bin Laden raid squad to guard Delhi Metro

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) bought Khoj, a Belgian Malinois, from a private breeder last week .

delhi Updated: Jul 19, 2019 07:17 IST
Anvit Srivastava
Anvit Srivastava
New Delhi
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) bought Khoj, a Belgian Malinois, from a private breeder last week.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) bought Khoj, a Belgian Malinois, from a private breeder last week.(HT Photo)
         

‘Khoj’, a dog from the same breed a member of which is speculated to have accompanied the US Navy Seal team that killed Osama bin Laden, is set to become the first track dog to join the CISF in protecting Delhi Metro.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) bought Khoj, a Belgian Malinois, from a private breeder last week . Khoj has now been sent for a 10-month training at Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) dog training centre in Bengaluru. CISF officials said over ₹1 lakh have been spent on buying and training the dog, making it the most expensive member of the CISF dog squad.

Officials said the dog will help in identifying fidayeen attackers with explosives, etc.

The dog’s name translates to search in English. The funds to buy and train the dog have been given by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

Belgian Malinois dogs shot to international fame for reportedly assisting the US Navy Seal team in the raid on Al-Qaeda chief bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout. But there is no official confirmation on the dog’s breed, with some reports suggesting it could also have been a German Shepherd.

A special squad of dogs that had landed in Delhi in 2015 to sanitise and conduct anti-sabotage checks before the US President Barack Obama’s visit included Belgian Malinois dogs.

In India, these dogs are being used at Kaziranga National Park in Assam to track down poachers, by the CRPF mostly in Maoist affected areas since 2011 and by the National Security Guard.

A senior CISF officer, who did not wish to be named, said the dog will not be used for regular patrolling. Around 500 of these dogs are deployed with the CRPF in naxal-hit states and at least 200 are undergoing training.

Deputy inspector general, CRPF, Moses Dhinakaran, in-charge of the dog training institute in Bengaluru, said Belgian Malinois stand out in comparison to other force dogs. “A Belgian Malinois can walk up to 25-30 kilometres continuously. Their assault and biting power also makes them far better than their competitors. Also, they are the best in multi-tasking. So far, in more than 250 cases our dogs have helped us detect an ambush, IEDs, suspects or weapons. More than 170 of these were Belgian Malinois,” he said.

Dhinakaran said Khoj is three months old, the perfect age for starting training. “Training lasts for 40 weeks. We start with familiarising the dog with sound of bullets and explosives and making him used to heights and smoke so that these things do not scare him in a real time situation. Then comes obedience training and after that we start teaching them how to track. Tracking training is followed by assault and other requirements as demanded by the CISF,” the DIG said.

After nine months, the dog goes on a one month jungle camp, where operation-like situations are created, he said. “It has to then undergo an exam. If it passes the test, it is handed over to the agency. Else, another three months of training follows,” DIG Dhinakaran said.

Khoj will be stationed at the CISF’s Shastri Park kennel to secure Delhi Metro and Delhi airport if required. At present, the DMRC unit of CISF has 63 dogs, including the ones who secure the Airport Express Metro.