Elite force to get more men and machines

Having learnt immensely from the anti-terror operations its men conducted during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the National Security Guard (NSG) plans to take a giant leap in terms of weaponry and equipment in 2010. With the "debriefing" of Operation Black Tornado (the name given to the 26/11 operations) having yielded critical information about the way this elite force operates and the kind of improvements that could be made, the NSG's focus is clearly on upgrading its firepower and communication systems.

Amongst a variety of sophisticated weapons the force is likely to procure in "significant numbers" are the German-made MP5 submachine guns and the Glock 26 and Glock 17 pistols of Austrian make. The NSG will also procure laser aiming devices for the MP5 guns and tactical lights for the Glock pistols.

The New Year will also see the force procure hands-free communication devices, splinter-proof goggles and bulletproof jackets, providing 360-degree, all-round upper torso body protection.

"Much of 2009 was spent in identifying the kind of weapons and equipment we require and seeking clearances from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Most of the procurements will happen in the New Year," a top NSG official said.

Also, for the around 1,000 commandos of the NSG, the New Year will ring in some good news when they move into pre-fabricated structures at the four newly-created regional hubs at Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

NSG's tag of being a lean elite force will, however, become redundant in 2010 with the force planning to add 13,000 personnel to it ranks, out of which 10,300 will exclusively be for the two regional centres the force plans to set up at Kolkata and Hyderabad. With 600 acres of land in Hyderabad already identified, the regional centre there is likely to take shape sooner than at Kolkata. On the training front, 2010 may see NSG Black Cats getting training from Germany's elite counter-terrorism force, the GSG 9 and the French GIGN force.

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