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Punjab ready with Special Operations Group to counter terror attacks

The newly formed SOG has 10 times more strength than SWAT, with provisions for separate budget, promotional avenues, postings to districts after fixed tenure, and induction of new talent.

punjab Updated: Jul 20, 2018 09:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bahadurgarh (Patiala)
Punjab,Special Operations Group,Punjab news
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh interacting with trainee commandos of the Special Operations Group at Bahadurgarh near Patiala on Thursday.(HT Photo)

The counter the Dinanagar and Pathankot airbase like terror attacks, Punjab is ready with its own Special Operations Group (SOG), which exhibited its skills before chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday.

The SOG will replace the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), a police armed unit formed by the then deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, which Amarinder says has become irrelevant now.

Interacting with the trainee SOG commandos at the Commando Training Centre here, the CM said the use of non-conventional means of warfare by terrorists had necessitated the transformation of the state’s counter-terror apparatus. He hailed the newly-trained SOG commandos as a critical engine to boost the state’s preparedness in countering terror.

The CM said the intensity and gravity of “fidayeen” strikes on Dinanagar police station and on Pathankot air base had major ramifications for the border state. Though the frequency of militant related incidents had come down considerably post conventional militancy period, there now existed a new and graver threat in the form of unconventional militancy, he added.

Noting that the dangers now emanate from both local militant outfits as well as cross border militant organisations like LeT, United Jehad Council, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Al Qaida, the CM said that Punjab’s vulnerability to infiltration and smuggling of narcotics due to its geographical location had become more pronounced in recent years.

The state shares an international border of 553km with Pakistan, besides 70km boundary with Jammu and Kashmir, which makes it easy prey for drug smugglers, peddlers and militants, said Amarinder.

First Published: Jul 20, 2018 09:39 IST