No new VIP security duties for NSG


VIPs may no more enjoy the cover of coveted ‘Black Cat’ commandos. Government is learnt to have decided that VIPs would no longer get the cover of NSG commandos and the force would be redirected to keep 100% focus on counter-terror operations. The elite commando force was established as an emergency force to respond to terror attacks but has been diluted over the years with the burden of VIP security. As the force’s commandos are known to be the best in the country, they are coveted for security cover by politicians and VIPs as a status symbol. This may change soon, though. NSG DG J N Choudhary on Thursday told TOI, “The government is aware that VIP security is not our core competence.

If any more responsibility of VIP cover is given to us, it would dilute our capability to counter terror attacks. That is why the government is not giving us such responsibility anymore.” He added that NSG was a lean force, as any specialized force should be, and increasing VIP duties would spread it thin and unavailable to consistent counter-terror training, an absolute essential for such a force. Though the force has been demanding for long that its VIP duties be limited, successive governments have only increased the number of VIPs under its protection. Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav were added to the list in recent years.

However, the new government has been careful of the force’s concerns and has assigned other paramilitary forces to secure VIP protectees. A case in point is that of BJP chief Amit Shah and NSA Ajit Doval, both having very high threat perception, but still given CRPF and CISF security respectively. It will, however, continue to provide security to the 15 VVIPs that it guards at present until further orders.

The NSG guards CMs like Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), J Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh), Parkash Singh Badal (Punjab) and a host of other political figures like senior BJP leaders L K Advani and Rajnath Singh. It is also securing former CMs like Prafulla Mahanta (Assam), K Karunanidhi (Tamil Nadu) and Mulayam Singh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh).

The concept and thought process to reduce VVIP security duties of the elite force was mooted about two years back when the force decided to pull out about 900 commandos from its VVIP security duties and train them for specialized operational tasks of counter-terror and counter-hijack operations for which it was raised in 1984.

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