Don’t require own aircraft: NSG chief

October 16th, 2009 - 10:17 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Manesar (Haryana), Oct 16 (IANS) As the National Security Guard (NSG), the country’s elite commando force, entered its silver jubilee year Friday, its director general N.P. Aulakh put to rest the debate on whether it should have its own aircraft, saying there was no need for this.
“We do not feel the requirement of aircraft of our own as yet. The home ministry has authorised us to charter planes in case of emergency,” Aulakh told reporters on the sidelines of the NSG’s Raising Day.

The NSG had hogged the headlines after the audacious 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks when 10 terrorists from Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba laid siege to the city, killing over 170 people. The commandos, known as the “Black Cats”, gunned down nine militants in an operation that lasted for more than 60 hours.

However, precious time was lost as the NSG had to rush its commandos, weapons and equipment from its training centre here. It took the force over seven hours to reach Mumbai as it had to wait at the airport for a suitable aircraft. This had sparked off a debate on whether the NSG should have its own aircraft.

Another officer IANS spoke to said it would be impractical for the NSG to have its own aircraft.

“It would not be practical. Along with aircraft a lot of other things are required. Pilots have to be hired and logistics like a servicing unit are also required. Neither do we have such capabilities nor the expertise,” said a senior officer.

“So it was decided against having aircraft of our own. In future, if we think we need our own aircraft then we will submit a proposal to the home ministry. In case of emergencies, provisions have been made that we get an aircraft within half an hour,” the officer added.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said the government had authorised NSG to requisition civil aircraft in case of an emergency.

“We have authorised the NSG to requisition civil aircraft,” he said.

Speaking of the force’s modernisation, Chidambaram said: “NSG is in the process of inducting high technology and new weapons. The process of inducting sophisticated state-of-the-art weapons is in the final stages.”

After 26/11, the government has created four regional hubs of NSG with a strength of 240 personnel each at Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai. These hubs are presently operating from temporary centres.

Asked about this, Aulakh said: “Earlier, there were problems related to land in all the four cities. It has been cleared now and we have been assured that prefabricated structures would be in place, at least in Mumbai and Hyderabad, by Nov 30. We would be pressing the concerned authority to give us the same structures in Chennai and Kolkata by the same time.”

He also denied that the Indian Army and the central paramilitary forces, whose officers and men constitute the NSG, had refused to provide more personnel as they themselves were facing manpower shortages.

“The army is itself expanding, but they have never objected to giving personnel to the NSG. We have adequate manpower for our operational requirements,” Aulakh said..

He also clarified that the NSG would not be deployed in anti-Maoist operations.

–Indo-Asian New Service

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