Commandos of the elite National Security Guard reach Kashmir valley for anti-terror operations: Reports

As reported by NDTV, the commandos of the elite National Security Guard, a special forces unit under the Home Ministry, were found training at the Border Security Force camp at Humhaha near Srinagar. Cladded in their typical black uniform the commandoes were seen performing drills with other Armed forces.

About two dozen snipers from the NSG’s house intervention teams (HIT commandos) have been training here for the last two weeks. In some time, the Home Ministry hopes to have 100 NSG men positioned at the BSF station. “Since they specialize in anti-hijack drills, they have been placed near the airport,” a senior officer disclosed.

The Union Home Ministry, last month cleared the move because of the state security forces not being equipped enough to handle all situations and with the intention to reduce casualties in security forces particularly against the backdrop of the centre’s plans to intensify operations, after it was put on hold during the month of Ramzan. The ministry had approved the deployment of elite counter-terror force National Security Guards (NSG) in Kashmir as part of the counter-insurgency (CI) grid, adding that this would also provide an opportunity for the special force to sharpen its skills.

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The NSG has also been asked to train both the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) State Police and the CRPF in counter-terror operations in densely populated areas.

The Home Ministry officials said, in 2017, 80 security force personnel and 70 civilians lost their lives. This year, till May, 30 security personnel and 35 civilians have died.

The casualties are higher when the security forces take on terrorists. While CRPF does conduct house intervention operations, this has a high human cost particularly when the terrorists are all prepared to die. The army avoids these high-risk operations due to the human costs involved and tries to neutralize the holed up terrorists by bringing down the building itself. On the other hand, to counter such situations the NSG will use state-of-the-art weapons including “through the wall” radars, sniper rifles and the corner shot assault weapons, and demolition experts trained for such interventions, which would help reduce casualties.

NSG despite it’s on point accuracy and highly sophisticated weapons have rarely been used in anti-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab with Army Para commandos doing the job. NSG’s core efficiency so far has been in counter-terrorism, counter-hijacking operations and proximate security for the VVIPs.

However, despite the army opposing Black Cat commandos being deployed in the valley, in an attempt to upgrade, accelerate and foolproof the counter-terror operations, home secretary Rajiv Guaba, last month, issued written directions to national security agencies to the effect that Black Cat commandos will be part of the CI grid in Srinagar city as a first step and will also train the two forces within city jurisdiction. The instructions have also been communicated to both DG NSG Sudeep Laktakia and DG, Jammu and Kashmir Police.

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