New Delhi, July 24:
The National Security Guard (NSG) was not ready to take more responsibilities to provide security to a single VVIP in India under its elite ‘black cat’ commando security cover as per their mandate and strength, an official said Thursday.
The elite force, which protects most VVIPs in the country, has now decided to stop providing more security to ensure its most fool-proof and strict security to the existing VVIPs under its cover, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and a number of chief ministers.
“We will not be able to manage more protectees under our cover. We protect the most vulnerable of the VVIPs, and according to our mandate and present strength, we will not be able to take any more such duties,” said NSG Director General J.N. Choudhury.
Choudhury said it was essential to put a cap on the number of VVIPs being guarded by the NSG as this allows his commandos to train and rest better, after which the force will be able to provide an “alert” and the “best” security compared to other special units of central paramilitary forces.
He said the NSG presently guards 15 VVIPs, who are accorded the top security categorisation ‘Z+’, which generally entails over two dozen armed commandos with a host of gadgets and security paraphernalia to secure the individual.
The top NSG officer said VIP security was not its mandate, “but we have been doing this as it was required and decided by the home ministry”.
“We are a special force and our strength is in our compactness,” he said.
He said that in order to preserve the elite quality of the special force, which showed its mettle by eliminating terrorists during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the NSG “wouldn’t want to expand” in this (VVIP security) domain.
He said his stand was even understood by the home ministry and it wouldn’t increase its task further in VVIP security duties, a domain where central forces like the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had chipped in.
He said his commandos were being given “excellent training” in VVIP protection and the commando task forces deployed for this job were second to none in the country.
He also said his force has been providing security to chief ministers like Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), J. Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh), Parkash Singh Badal (Punjab).
Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, and former chief ministers like Prafulla Mahanta (Assam), K. Karunanidhi (Tamil Nadu) and Mulayam Singh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) were also being provided security by the NSG.