The top counter-terrorism force National Security Guard or NSG that undertakes high-risk close combat missions observed its 34th Raising Day on Tuesday. Commandos of the NSG had killed the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November 2008. A unit of the NSG has also been deployed in Jammu and Kashmir. The NSG was raised in 1984 as a federal contingency force after Operation Blue Star. Apart from counter-terror and counter-hijack operations, it also guards some VVIPs including Home Minister Rajnath Singh. He referred to the NSG as a "Sudarshan Chakra" against terrorists.
NDTV speaks with NSG Director General Sudeep Lakhtakia, who explains the new technologies the counter-terrorism force has acquired recently and its wider roles:
Home Minister Rajnath Singh claims the NSG is one of the world's best counter-terror forces. Why are you often referred to as a force having zero errors?
In any ongoing operation, we only get a small window of intervention and when we do get we cannot afford to go wrong. We don't get second chances, so we have no other option than to be a zero-error force. And for that we have to train very hard. We have to imagine what all can go wrong and practice and train for that. In anti-terror operations, there are no fixed templates. We equip our boys with the best firepower and we have a 100 per cent strike rate.
What are the new types of weapons you have acquired recently?
A four-inch drone called Black Hornet is the latest miniaturised gadgetry we have acquired. It helps us in operations in small places like a metro train or a dungeon. Images captured by this can be seen live at our control rooms. Since precision is the key to most of our operations, these images help us a lot. We are frontiers of technology and are not a traditional force. We try to leverage technology; we try to use it as a force-multiplier. Drones and K9 dog squads enhance our capabilities and help us to speed up the operation.
You also spoke about made-in-India technology being used by the NSG?
A drone is just an application. We can decide how we want to use its techniques. We keep improvising them. We have managed to combine drone with firepower. We can team it up with communications underwater. Most of these technologies adopted by the NSG are made in India. Our country's talent is immense, but unfortunately the products manufactured do not get enough market. When we were importing a lot of these new technologies, some students met me and showed me what kind of products they had developed. Am proud to say the NSG is using a lot of products manufactured in India. It saves a lot of money; servicing can be done in India and so we also save time.
NSG is also training a lot of state police and paramilitary forces. What type of training are your commandos giving?
Since we undergo lot of joint training sessions with the specialised units of other countries, we use our knowledge and impart it with our sister agencies at the state level as they are the first responders to any terror attack. Most of the state police forces have fantastic capabilities. We only strengthen them further.
The NSG has a small hub in Srinagar. Was the move resisted by the Jammu Kashmir police?
There was no resistance at all. The NSG has capabilities that sometimes state forces need. Our services are not needed on a daily basis as we specialise in precise interventions. And yes, it is the prerogative of a state which force they want to use in any operation, but they only came up with this idea to keep a small unit of the NSG in Srinagar so that response time is reduced if they decide to use us. We have been training with the Special Operations Group and the CRPF in the Valley, and are building and enhancing capabilities.
In Pathankot, the Army resisted your entry to their base...
The Pathankot operation was conducted between the Indian Air Force's Garud commandos and the NSG. It was a large area. Some part of it the NSG sanitised; the remaining area other forces did. The state police and the local Army units were also called in. Recently again, the NSG visited Pathankot and I met the station commander myself. I can tell you the station commander was happy to see NSG commandos there. All forces work in tandem as a team and not against one another.