NSG Functioning Without Top Commander For Six MonthsNew Delhi, Jan 1: The country's elite counter-terrorist force NSG is functioning without its top operations commander for almost six months as both the Home and Defence ministries have not been able to get a
New Delhi, Jan 1: The country's elite counter-terrorist force NSG is functioning without its top operations commander for almost six months as both the Home and Defence ministries have not been able to get a suitable Army officer for the job.
The last incumbent of the post—Inspector General (operations) Major General R S Pradhan was repatriated from the elite commando force on July 12 last year even before he completed his stipulated three-year tenure.
Pradhan had joined the ‘black cats' on June 21, 2010 on deputation from the Army.
Sources in the Home Ministry said that at a time when the NSG has spread its security web by deploying its crack commandos in various important cities across the country, the absence of the top commander can turn out to be a costly affair for the force in the possible event of a terrorist attack or an hijack attempt.
“The Home Ministry has twice drawn the list for appointing an eligible Major General rank officer in consultation with the Ministry of Defence but they have still not been able to find a suitable officer for the crucial post. The NSG's fighting forces are under the command of the IG (operations) and the officer is next in command to the NSG DG in terms of operations,” a top source said.
According to sources, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had some time back approved the name of a senior Army Major General but the posting has still not taken place.
The Ministry of Defence, according to sources, is still to give its nod on the selection.
The IG operations commands both the 51 Special Action Group (counter-terrorist unit) and 52 SAG (counter-hijack unit) and is also responsible to pick the best commandos to be placed in these units in consultation with the IG Training of the force who is based at the forces' garrison in Manesar near here.
“The NSG is a small force of specially trained and highly motivated ‘black cat' commandos.
The IG operations ensures that the chain of command right from strike units to the force commanders is in place and the boys are ever-ready for a ‘swift and lethal strike' at any hour of the day,” an NSG commander who fought terrorists during the 2008 Mumbai terror attack said.
Last IG (operations) Pradhan's predecessor Major General S K Bharadwaj was also called back in a similar fashion by the Army headquarters cutting short his stint midway in NSG.
“This trend affects the efficiency of the force. The NSG is a fully deputationist force and if it does not get suitable officers it will cease to be a sharp and capable force,” sources said.
The charge of the IG (Operations) is at present being held by the junior officer, a Brigadier rank Deputy Inspector General (DIG), for the last six months, raising questions over the overall command of commando units across the country.
The NSG, after learning lessons from the shortcomings during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had deployed crack squads of 241 ‘black cats' each at Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata and recently Chidambaram operationalised the hubs at Hyderabad and Chennai by inaugurating permanent infrastructure facilities at these centres.