Indian Army

Black Cats on the prowl: What makes India’s NSG such a deadly anti-terror commando force

By Times now

October 16 marks the 36th Raising Day of one of the finest anti-terror forces in the world – the National Security Guard (NSG) who are also informally referred to as the ‘Black Cats’ because of their menacing, all-black uniforms.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah greeted the elite force on the occasion.

“NSG plays a crucial role in India’s security apparatus. It has been associated with utmost courage and professionalism. India is proud of NSG’s efforts to keep India safe and secure,” the PM tweeted on Friday morning.

From displaying exceptional bravery during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to neutralising the Pathankot terrorists, NSG commandos have been at the forefront of some of the most critical anti-terror operations in recent history.

So who are these fearsome warriors – and what makes them tick?

A world-class force

The NSG is a ‘Zero Error’ world-class force that deals with a whole gamut of anti-terrorist situations. Trained and equipped to deal with specific situations, it is used to tackle serious acts of terror. The NSG’s ethos includes a pursuit for excellence, leading from the front and zero error; its hallmarks are speed, stealth, surprise, accuracy and precision.

The decision to form an anti-terror federal contingency force was taken in 1984 when militancy in Punjab was at its peak. The Union Cabinet at the time envisioned a force that would be not only highly motivated but also well-trained and specially equipped to thwart the various manifestations of terrorism.

With this in mind, the organisation came into being on 22 September 1986.

Various government in the past have been criticised for using the ‘Black Cats’ to provide security for VIPs.

In January this year, the Centre decided to remove the NSG from this task as it was not a duty which the force was supposed to perform when it was originally formed.

The government’s thinking is that India is facing an increasingly large number of counter-terrorism challenges. Some 400 NSG commandos were deployed in Mumbai for more than three days during the 26/11 attacks. If there are multiple simultaneous terror attacks, the force needs enough men to cater to all theatres of action.

India’s finest warriors

Modelled on the elite anti-terror forces GSG-9 of Germany and the UK’s SAS, the NSG’s basic philosophy is lightning fast strikes followed by quick withdrawal from the site of action.

Only the best of the best make it to the NSG. These specially chosen warriors are drawn from the Indian Army (Special Action Group) and the central and state police forces (Special Ranger Groups).

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