National Security Guard

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National Security Guard
राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा गार्ड
Abbreviation NSG
NSG Logo
Motto सर्वत्र सर्वोत्तम सुरक्षा (Sarvatra Sarvottam Surakhsha)(Sanskrit)
Omnipresent Omnipotent Defense
Agency overview
Formed 1984
Employees 7,500
Volunteers Yes
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Legal jurisdiction Republic of India
Governing body Ministry of Home Affairs (India)
Constituting instrument National Security Guard Act, 1986
General nature
Specialist jurisdictions
  • Counter terrorism, special weapons and tactics, protection of VIPs.
  • Protection of international or domestic VIPs, protection of significant state asseets.
Operational structure
Headquarters New Delhi
Minister responsible Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Home Affairs
Agency executive Jayanta Narayan Choudhory, Director General of NSG
Parent agency Ministry of Home Affairs
Child agency Junior and Mid level personnel on voluntary deputation from Indian Army and Central Armed Police Forces. Senior officers at the discretion of Ministry of Home Affairs (India)

The National Security Guard (NSG) (Hindi: राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा गार्ड) is a security force of India constituted "for combating terrorist activities with a view to protect States against internal disturbances".[1] The force does not constitute under collective nomenclature such as Central Armed Police Forces or Paramilitary Forces of India.[2] The force is a unique combination of personnel on deputation from Indian Army and Central Armed Police Forces, hence it is referred as NSG itself or Black Cats or Commandos.[3] The personnel of NSG are known as Black Cats because of the black dress and black cat signage worn on its uniform. The two components of NSG are the Special Action Group (SAG), which consists entirely of Indian Army personnel; and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG), which comprises personnel drawn from Central Armed Police Forces and State Police Forces. The chief of the force designated as a Director General is an officer from the Indian Police Service.[4]


The National Security Guard (NSG) was set up in 1984 as a Federal Contingency Deployment Force to tackle all facets of terrorism in the country.[4] As a specialized counter terrorism force, it is intended for use "only in exceptional situations" and not meant to take over the "functions of the State Police Forces or other Para Military Forces".[4] Yet, over the years its role has vastly expanded to provide personal security to influential politicians quite independent of the real threat that they face. Many politicians seek personal security details for themselves and their family for reasons of ego, prestige, and power projection.[5]

The NSG's is trained to conduct counter terrorist task to including counter hijacking tasks on land, sea, and air; Bomb disposal (search, detection and neutralization of IEDs); PBI (Post Blast Investigation) and Hostage Rescue missions.


The NSG is under the authority Ministry of Home Affairs. It is headed by an officer of the rank of Director General who is usually from the Indian Police Service (IPS).[6] The Director General is assisted by four Indian Police Service officers of whom two are Inspectors General each for Administration and HQ who in turn are assisted by Deputy Inspectors General each for Administration and HQ.[7] Major General of Indian Army is deputed as the Inspector General (operations) who will hold the command of fighting forces and the officer is next in command to the DG NSG in terms of operations. There is one more Major General from Indian Army deputed as IG (Training). They are further assisted by two Brigadiers on deputation from Indian army as DIG (Operations) and DIG (Training).[8] The strength of the NSG is estimated to be about 7,500 personnel.[9] According to the NSG web site it is modeled on Germany's GSG 9 (Grenzschutzgruppe 9 or "Border Guard Group 9").[4][10][11] It has task-oriented complementary elements the Special Action Group (SAG) and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG). Air transport to support NSG is located at Indra Gandhi Airport. The Financial Advisor of the NSG has been an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer of the rank of Joint Secretary and also has Dy Advisors from the Indian Audit and Accounts Service and Indian Civil Account Service.

Special Action Groups[edit]

The SAG is the main offensive or the strike wing of the NSG. Its members are drawn from the Indian army. The SAGs includes headquarters, support units, and training wing. The training of both the action and ranger group is conducted by the officers and NCOs drawn from the army. There are two SAGs – 51 Special Action Group and 52 Special Action Group. The two SAGs (51 and 52) are tasked for counter-terror and counter-hijack operations respectively. The smallest operation sub unit of the SAG is called "hit", usually commanded by an NCO. A "hit" has five members – two pairs, or buddies, and a technical support member. Four hits make a team. A team is commanded by a Captain. In hostage rescue operations, depending on the situation, team size may vary between 50 to 90 NSG personnel. For immediate transport airlift IL-76MD strategic transport aircraft are stationed at New Delhi’s Palam Air Force Station and are ready to deploy within 30 minutes.[12]

Special Ranger Group(SRG)[edit]

NSG has three SRGs, each with a strength of battalion, approximately total 900 all ranks. SRG personnel are drawn on deputation from Central Armed Police Forces and State Police forces. There are three SRGs – 11, 12 and 13.[12] SRG renders logistical support to the SAGs during operations and are deployed for guarding high-risk VIPs/VVIPs. However VIP/VVIP Security is not mandate of NSG, It decided to withdraw 11 SRG from its present task of VVIP security and converted into a regular SAG-like unit for undertaking specific counter-terror operations.[13]

Regional Deployment[edit]

In response to criticism of the time taken by NSG units to arrive in November 2008 Mumbai attacks Mumbai in 2008, from their base in Manesar, Haryana, the MHA decided to deploy NSG contingents in major cities across India like Mumbai, Kolkata (462 personnel[14]), Hyderabad and Chennai.[15]

Hyderabad will turn into a training hub of the elite 'Black Cats' by mid-2014. With the ministry of home affairs (MHA) giving its nod and sanctioning Rs 533.68 crore a few months ago, the National Security Guard (NSG) officials are gearing up to set up the Southern Regional Center (SRC) at Ibrahimpatnam, Hyderabad for training commandos. With the state government also handing over 600 acres at Ibrahimpatnam, the SRC is likely to be ready by next year. Tender notices have already been issued for civil works, which would be overseen by the Central Public Works Department. With this, Hyderabad would have an NSG hub at Trimulgherry as well as the SRC for training 'Black Cats'. As of now, nearly 300 commandos, ready for anti-terror operations round-the-clock, are stationed at the NSG hub at Trimulgherry. Similar hubs are in place in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The proposal to set up a state-of-the-art NSG training centre at Ibrahimpatnam on the lines of NSG Manesar training centre has been pending for over three years. But the MHA officials, in their annual report released recently, announced the release of funds for developing infrastructure. "Post the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike, four regional hubs of NSG were operationalised in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata to reduce reaction time. A regional centre at Hyderabad is also being raised, for which 600 acres of land has been acquired. MHA has conveyed sanction of Rs 533.68 crore towards the construction of this Southern Regional Centre, NSG at Ibrahimpatnam," the MHA report said. With this, the state would have two trained anti-terror striking forces. Besides the NSG, the Andhra Pradesh police's OCTOPUS, which also has a training facility at Ibrahimpatnam, has a strength of over 250 personnel. NSG and OCTOPUS personnel, who undergo a gruelling training, including handling sophisticated weapons, commandos are sent back to their parent department once they attain the age of 35, ensuring that the force remains young and fighting fit.[16]

Rank Structure and Designation[edit]

The ranks in NSG are roughly on the pattern of the police and the CAPF, as follows:[1]

  • Officers
    • (i) Director-General.
    • (ii) Additional Director-General.
    • (iii) Inspector-General.
    • (iv) Deputy Inspector-General.
    • (v) Group Commander.
    • (vi) Squadron Commander.
    • (vii) Team Commander.
  • Assistant Commanders (JCOs)
    • (viii) Assistant Commander Grade I.
    • (ix) Assistant Commander Grade II.
    • (x) Assistant Commander Grade III.
  • persons other than officers and Assistant Commanders-
    • (xi) Ranger Grade I.
    • (xii) Ranger Grade II.
    • (xiii) Combatised tradesmen


The NSG was established in the wake of 1984 Operation Blue Star, and the high collateral damage to Golden Temple, and civilian and military collateral casualties. Since it raising the NSG has been used in the of Punjab in 1986, and Jammu and Kashmir. Some of the NSG's known operations include:

  • 29–30 April 1986: About 300 NSG commandos and 700 Border Security Force troops stormed the Golden Temple in Operation Black Thunder I. The Temple was cleared and handed over to Punjab Police on 1 May 1986. 300 Sikh militants were captured, and there were no deaths or injuries for either side.[17]
  • January 1988: The NSG conducted Op Black Hawk, a heliborne operation in the Mand area of Punjab. In this operation two terrorists were killed and one 7.62mm was recovered. It was a massive operation, says Ved Marwah, but did not get many spectacular results like in Black Thunder.[18]
  • 12 May 1988: 1,000 NSG commandos (all ranks) surrounded the Golden Temple for yet another assault, in Operation Black Thunder II. Sniper teams armed with Heckler & Koch PSG-1 rifles with night scope took up positions, including atop a 300-foot water tower. While commandos from the 51 SAG divided into assault squadrons, the SRG were used to seal off the area around the temple and for tactical support. In the three-day operation between 15–18 May 1988, the NSG cleared the temple. 40 terrorists were killed, and 200 surrendered. In the mid-1990s, a NSG battalion was again deployed in Punjab to confront the Sikh rioters. There they began training the Punjab Police in counter-terrorism.[19]
  • 5 September – 15 January 1988: Guarding of high-risk terrorist code-named 'Jack'.[18]
  • 4 August 1989: Operation Mouse Trap in the Tarn Taran district of Punjab, in conjunction with Punjab Police and other security forces. NSG was able to demonstrate that it was possible to achieve area dominance at night, if the strategy and tactics were right. Ved Marwah calls this Operation Night Dominance.[18]
  • 10 November 1990: NSG task force flown to Kolkata to rescue hostages of a Thai airbus by Burmese students.[18]
  • 25–26 January 1991: The NSG was involved in Operation Ani Ben, on CI tasks in Baroda, (Gujarat) where Punjab terrorists were holed up inside a house. Two terrorists were killed and two AK-47s were recovered.[18]
  • 1 July-20 September 1991: NSG employed along with SIT in search and strike missions after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.[18]
  • 25 November – 16 December 1992: 150 commandos were deployed at Ayodhya during the Ram Janambhoomi and Babri Masjid crisis.[18]
  • 27 March 1993: 52 SAG mobilised and moved to Adampur for rescue of hostages of Indian Airlines Flight IC 486.[18]
  • 24–25 April 1993: NSG Commandos storm a hijacked Indian Airlines Boeing 737 with 141 passengers on board at Amritsar airport during Operation Ashwamedh. Two hijackers, including their leader, Mohammed Yousuf Shah, are killed and one is disarmed before. No hostages are harmed.[18][20]
  • October 1998: As part of the implementation of the Union Home Ministry's decision to conduct pro-active strikes against militants, commando teams supported by IAF Mi-25/35 helicopter gun-ships began striking at terrorist groups deep inside the mountains and forests of Kashmir. After helicopter reconnaissance were conducted to pinpoint the militants, the commandos – comprising NSG and Rashtriya Rifles personnel – were para-dropped, along with supplies, into the area to hunt the militants. They had to rely on these supplies and their ability to live off the land until replenishment every fortnight or so. These missions are possibly ongoing.[19]
  • 15 July 1999: NSG commandos end a 30-hour standoff by killing 2 terrorists and rescuing all 12 hostages unharmed in J&K. The terrorists had attacked a BSF campus near Srinagar, killed 3 officers and the wife of another. The 12 hostages were kept locked in a room.[19]
  • 21 August 1999: After interrogating three captured terrorists, the Delhi Police Crime branch confirmed that two more terrorists were hiding in a one-storied house in Rudrapur, Uttar Pradesh. Since the terrorists were considered armed and dangerous (their colleagues were arrested with 100+ pounds of RDX), the Delhi Police sought assistance from the NSG. A 16-man team arrived at the house at 4:45 am They began their assault at 5:30 am, before first light. The first militant managed to fire at the commandos with a pistol he kept by his bedside, but was killed an instant later. The second terrorist was shot before he had a chance to fire and died 40 minutes later. No NSG personnel were injured.[19]
  • December 1999: Terrorists hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC814 from Nepal, and landed in Amritsar, Punjab. Within minutes of landing, the Crisis Management Group (CMG), which authorised the use of the NSG, was informed. But the CMG wasted precious hours and by the time the go-ahead was issued, it is too late. On the other hand, the NSG team on alert was elsewhere and no other team was raised during the delay. The hijacked plane took off before the NSG reached Amritsar Airport. The plane landed in Kandahar, Afghanistan where one hostage was killed. Finally, the Indian Government agrees to the terrorists' demands to release three jailed terrorists. The hostages are released and the terrorists escaped to Pakistan.[19]
  • February 2000: Following the Flight IC 814 fiasco, the Indian Government decided to implement an Air Marshal programme. At least two NSG operators will be present on flights over select routes. These operators will be armed with weapons firing lethal, but low-velocity, fragmentation rounds to minimise danger to the passengers and prevent penetration of the aircraft. Another decision taken was to deploy NSG teams permanently at eight sensitive airports around the country, especially those bordering Pakistan and the North East. This decision will cut short reaction times for the NSG and eliminate hassles involved in flying the teams to the hijack site. It is not known if this plan has been put into action.[19]
  • September 2002 – SAG commandos fly to the Karnataka state in India, in an effort to catch sandalwood smuggler and forest brigand Veerappan, in the wake of kidnapping of a former minister of the state cabinet, Nagappa. They pull out after suggesting that intelligence for the operation was inadequate. A small team is left behind to help, the hostage is eventually killed in December 2002.[18]
  • October 2002 – Two terrorists attack Akshardham temple complex in Gujarat. NSG flies in, delayed by traffic in Delhi. They carry out assaults in which one commando is killed and another one is seriously injured and was in a coma, died after 18 months. But by morning the two terrorists are killed and the operation successfully completed.[18]
  • December 2002 – Terrorists attack the Raghunath temple in Jammu. NSG ready to be flown out but called back at the last minute.[18]
  • 26 November 2008 Mumbai attacksOperation Black Tornado and Operation Cyclone to flush out terrorists & rescue hostages after multiple attacks across Mumbai, India. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havaldar Gajender Singh Bisht of the Special Action Group lost their lives during the operations.Over 900 rooms were scanned, 9 Terrorists killed and over 600 hostages rescued during the Operation.
  • 2013 Hyderabad blasts – Deployed in Hyderabad after the bomb blasts.
  • 2013 Bangalore Bomb Blast - NSG was deployed in Bangalore after the bomb blast took place in the city.
  • 2013 Patna Bomb Blast - A team of the NSG, which was sent to Patna for post-blasts analysis, said at least three more Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were defused.

Selection and training[edit]

Selection is demanding and has a drop out rate of about 70–80 percent.[9] Three of their 14 months of training in Manesar, Haryana, are devoted to the basics.The basic training period lasts 90 days. Physical fitness training has 26 elements, ranging from an cross-country obstacle course to jumping from heights and across divides and scaling different kinds terrain. One endurance test involves martial arts, target shooting at the end of an obstacle-ridden cross-country run. This is meant to gauge the candidate’s performance under conditions of stress and exhaustion. Those who successfully complete the tests are sent for nine months of advanced training. NSG commandos are trained in parkour French obstacle clearance technique and Pekiti-Tirsia Kali new form of martial art from Philippines.


  • Glock 17 and Glock 19 9mm Semi-automatic Pistol
  • SIG P226 9mm Semi-automatic Pistol
  • Heckler & Koch MP5 – A3, A5, SD3, SD6, K and K-PDW 9mm Submachine Gun.
  • AKM 7.62x39mm Assault Rifle
  • SIG SG 551 / 552 / 553 5.56mm NATO Carbine
  • Mauser SP66 7.62mm NATO Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle

  • Corner-shot
  • Laser Designator
  • Advance Audio Communication Set
  • GPS & GPRS Technological Systems
  • Wall Surveillance Radars
  • Portable X-RAY MACHINE
  • Night Vision Devices
  • Protective Goggles
  • Special Tactical Gears
  • Thermal Imaging Cameras
  • Mini Remotely Operated Vehicles
  • Non skid shoes
  • Ghillie suits
  • Helmet with in built hands free communication
  • Level 3 bullet-proof vest
  • Knee pad and elbow pads
  • Taser
  • Chartered helicopters and ability to use civilian aircraft for emergencies
  • Anti-Materiel Rifles like the OFB produced Vidhwansak and possibly the Russian made OSV-96 .


  1. ^ a b "The National Security Guard Act, 1986 (47 of 1986)". Government of India. 22 September 1986. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "For the paramilitary, all’s in a new name". The Telegraph Calcutta. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "NSG boss should be from IPS: Ex-chief". Indian Express. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "National Security Guard". Ministry Of Home Affairs. NSG.GOV.IN. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  5. ^ BHALLA, ABHISHEK (6 February 2013). "NSG cover to politicos set to rise despite Centre's promises". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Former DGs". Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "STATEMENT SHOWING DETAILS OF ORGANIZATION - WISE VACANCIES IN CAPFs / CPOs, ETC. UPTO 3 1 . 03 .201 5 MEANT FOR IPS OFFICERS AT VARIOUS LEVELS". Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "NSG gets 3 army officers for terror ops, training". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ "Modernising the NSG". India Today. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Elite German police wing to train NSG". India Express. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "NSG to pull out 900 commandos from VIP security for counter-terror operations training". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "NSG to pull out 900 commandos from VIP security for counterterror operations training PTI". Times of India. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "NSG's Kolkata hub to serve east, northeast: Chidambaram". Bharat Defence Kavach. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "Centre clears NSG for six cities". The Indian Express. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  16. ^ Central nod for 'Black Cats' training campus near Hyderabad - Times Of India. (2013-06-24). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  17. ^ India Deliverance, Time, 1986-05-12
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bhashyam, Kasturi. "National Security Guards- Past, Present and Future". Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f "National Security Guards". Bharat Rakshak: Land Forces. Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "NATIONAL SECURITY GUARDS 'Black Cats'". India. Special Operations Website. Retrieved 21 August 2012.