‘No delay in troop despatch; aircrafts were on the ready’

December 2nd, 2008 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) About 800 National Security Guard (NSG) commandos and other troops were ferried in five shuttles to Mumbai in an IL-76 transport aircraft belonging to the Aviation Research Centre and there was no time lost in transporting them Nov 26-27 after the city was attacked by terrorists, it was authoritatively learnt.Air Marshal (retd.) Ashok Goel, former head of the aviation wing of ARC, told IANS that each ferrying operation took about seven hours, considering that the commandos had to come from Manesar, their headquarters in Haryana to the ARC base at Palam, about 50 km away.

He said the process of airlifting troops follows a set procedure that includes about 45 minutes of boarding and loading time, 30 minutes of take-off and landing, about two and a half hours of flying time and about two hours to get from the airport in Mumbai to the site of the terror attack in south Mumbai.

“Contrary to press reports, there was no delay in transporting the troops. Nor was there any delay in finding any aircraft as reported,” said Goel.

He said IL-76 transport aircraft were ready at their base and in all about 800 troops were airlifted to Mumbai in the first few hours after the government ordered troops to be sent to Mumbai.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh subsequently announced that NSG hubs would also be set up in the other metropolitan cities to reduce the response time in despatch of troops in such emergencies.

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