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
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency India
Constituting instrument National Security Guard Act, 1986
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction
Operational structure
Agency executive Jayanta Narayan Choudhory, IPS Assam- Meghalaya-1978, Director General
Parent agency Indian Army

The National Security Guard (NSG) (Hindi: राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा गार्ड) is "an armed force of the Union" raised "for combating terrorist activities with a view to protect States against internal disturbances".[1] It is one of the seven Central Armed Police Forces( CAPF) under the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs. The NSG has two components, the Special Action Group (SAG), which consists entirely of army personnel; and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG), which comprises personnel drawn from the other Central Armed Police Forces and State Police Force. The head of the force, designated as a Director General, who wears the same badges of ranks as an army Lieutenant General, is an officer from the Indian Police Service.[2]


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.[3] 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".[2] Yet, over the years it's role has vastly expanded to provide personal security to influential politicians quiet independent of the real threat that they face. Many politician seek personal security details for themselves and their family for reasons of ego, prestige, and power projection.[4]

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 one of the seven one of the seven Central Armed Police Forces( CAPF) under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The NSG is also known as Black Cats because of the black dress and because of its black cat its signage worn on its uniform. It is headed by an officer of the rank of Director General who is usually from the Indian Police Service (IPS).[5] The strength of the NSG is estimated to be about 7,500 personnel.[6] According to the NSG web siteit is modeled on Germany's GSG 9 (Grenzschutzgruppe 9 or "Border Guard Group 9").[2][7][8] 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.

Special Action Groups[edit]

The SAG is the 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 NCO drawn from the army. There are two SAGs – 51 Special Action Group and 52 Special Action Group. 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.[9]

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 Paramilitary Forces (CPFs) such as the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and State Police forces. There are three SRGs – 11, 12 and 13.[9]

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[10]), Hyderabad and Chennai.[11]

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.[12]

Rank Structure and Designation[edit]

The ranks in NSG are roughly on the pattern of the police and the CAPF, as follows:[1] (i) Director-General. (ii) Additional Director-General. (iii) Inspector-General. (iv) Deputy Inspector-General. (v) Group Commander. (vi) Squadron Commander. (vii) Team Commander. (viii) Assistant Commander Grade I. (ix) Assistant Commander Grade II. (x) Assistant Commander Grade III. (c) 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.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • 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 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.[15]
  • 5 September – 15 January 1988: Guarding of high-risk terrorist code-named 'Jack'.[14]
  • 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.[14]
  • 10 November 1990: NSG task force flown to Kolkata to rescue hostages of a Thai airbus by Burmese students.[14]
  • 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.[14]
  • 1 July-20 September 1991: NSG employed along with SIT in search and strike missions after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.[14]
  • 25 November – 16 December 1992: 150 commandos were deployed at Ayodhya during the Ram Janambhoomi and Babri Masjid crisis.[14]
  • 27 March 1993: 52 SAG mobilised and moved to Adampur for rescue of hostages of Indian Airlines Flight IC 486.[14]
  • 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.[14][16]
  • 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.[15]
  • 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.[15]
  • 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.[15]
  • 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.[15]
  • 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.[15]
  • 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.[14]
  • 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.[14]
  • December 2002 – Terrorists attack the Raghunath temple in Jammu. NSG ready to be flown out but called back at the last minute.[14]
  • 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 50– 70%.[6] 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 of terrain. One endurance test involves 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. The advanced training includes unarmed combat, knife combat, intelligence gathering, surveillance, demolition techniques, specialized insertion techniques, rapid and reflex shooting, mirror shooting etc. Only those who complete the entire course successfully are inducted into the NSG and given further specialised training, thus making them at par with the best forces around.

At the training, the commandos are trained to handle sophisticated communication equipment, combat gadgets and different kinds of arms/specialised weapons such as AK-47/74s, Browning hi-power 9mm pistol, 9mm Uzi sub-machine gun, 5.56mm M-16 A2, 9mm H&K MP5-A2/A3 and locally manufactured 7.62mm SLR and 5.56mm INSAS rifles. Sniper rifles such as the semi-automatic H&K 7.62mm PSG-1 and MSG-90, the SIG 7.62mm, SSG-2000 and the bolt-action Mauser SP66/86SR are also used to train members of the Special Action Group, which is specifically deployed for anti-terror/anti-hijacking operations.[17]

The NSG Training Centre is a Centre of Excellence and the National Bomb Data Centre holds international conferences. Both are located at Manesar in Haryana. The NSG HQ Exchange is located at Mehramnagar, Palam.[17]

Former Head's of NSG[edit]

From 1984 to 2014, the NSG has had 27 heads. The average tenure has been barely one year; many DGs have been at their post for only a few months. Some have held dual charge. The MHA has periodically upgraded the post from IG, to Addl DG, to DG. The current DG is at the highest grade pay, which is equivalent to that secretary to the Government. None of the DG selected by the MHA have served in the SRG or the SAG, the two main components of this counter terrorism force, or in any other specialized force. The following have commanded the NSG in the past:[5]

  • RT Nagrani
  • MC Mishra
  • KL Watts
  • SD Pandey
  • HP Bhatnagar
  • Ved Marwah
  • DVLN Ramakrishna Rao
  • Dr S Subramanian
  • RK Wadehra
  • BJS Sial
  • AK Tandon
  • RD Tyagi

International competitions[edit]

10th International Combat Team Competition 2007 was conducted by GSG9 at Bonn, Germany from 2 to 7 Sep 2007. A total of 50 teams of various elite forces, predominantly from Europe, participated in the competition. NSG team won the obstacles cum endurance competition, a first for any team from Asian countries.

9th International Body Guards Tournament 2007 was conducted at Yalta, Ukraine from 17 to 22 Sep 2007. A total of 27 teams from various countries participated. NSG team had following achievements:

  • 1st position in Team Firing Competition.
  • 1st position and competition Record in individual Firing Competition by Naik Raj Kumar....

Developments After 26/11[edit]

The NSG is working on a five-year plan to provide the best technology and training to the commandos. According to NSG Director General Rajan Medhekar, the commandos will be able to retaliate more effectively in the coming years. After modernisation, the commandos will be much better equipped with the latest weaponry. Every commando will be a unit in himself and will carry global positioning system (GPS), body wearable computers, automatic cameras, self-care medication and so on with him. The commander giving directions to commando on the task would be able to see him in action.

On a modernization spree post-26/11 attacks, the National Security Guards (NSG) has embarked on a project to create a super commando, what it calls the "future black cat", who will be armed with such state-of-the-art gadgets that will give live streaming of audio-visuals of a terror situation to a command and control centre in order to exchange information and take orders in real time. Sources say, this will cut down operation time, bring more precision, improve efficiency and reduce force casualties and aims to turn commandoes into "a walking system" than just armed men. The force has already conducted a trial run of the new system successfully during its training programmes and is hoping to make it operational within three years. These commandoes will be armed with gadgets such as multiple cameras, microphones, messaging services etc. which will send live feeds of the situation and help them receive fresh orders on strategy according to changed situation in real time. A senior NSG officer said, "Presently, we enter a situation based on inputs given by intelligence agencies or local police. The real scenario is at times found to be different from the input. Thus, the new situation requires a new command in real time, but that is not possible at the moment leading to delay and losses in operations." Mumbai attacks were a prime example of this disadvantage where the forces entering the Taj Mahal Hotel did not have any specific information on the exact number of terrorists holed up there, the layout of the hotel or where the terrorists may be holed up. NSG men were very much on their own once they entered the hotel. It also cost them the life of Major Unnikrishnan. Besides, several other gadgets being acquired include self-extinguishing fire suits, state-of-the-art bugs, camera-fitted eyewear, long-range bomb detection equipment and Taser guns. While self-extinguishing bomb suits, which self-dowse fire within three seconds, will protect commandoes from being burnt, Taser guns that temporarily paralyse victims will be used in situations where civilians and terrorists may be mixed. In case of the latter the gun will paralyse the victim until he can be identified lessening the chance of civilian casualties in a hostage situation. It can also be used in VIP security.[18]

NSG is sharing training and technology with world's best agencies from France, Israel, Germany and other countries. In future, NSG has plans to perform this training with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States special operations forces. The NSG is now equipped with remote control improved explosive device (RCIED) bomb jammer. The jammer is effective in the range of up to 100 meters. By getting this, the force can more powerfully counter terrorism.[7]

Learning from the experience of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the National Security Guards (NSG) is set to bring on board "tactical negotiators" who can be used by the agency to interact with terrorists in a hostage situation in the event of a terror attack in future. The Home Ministry has approved NSG's proposal to allow it to hire such professionals who can be psychological experts and help the security agencies in negotiating with terrorists when civilians are taken hostage, like what happened during the Mumbai 26/11 attacks.At present, usually a senior police official or a top Intelligence official is roped in for such negotiations who may not be the best person for the job given the lack of expertise. A source in the NSG said the force is studying the concept of professional negotiators in elite commando forces in the US and UK where talented professionals in the field of psychology and professors of universities act as resource persons or a permanent group used by them for negotiations in a hostage situation. The tactical negotiators desired by the NSG should have good communication and persuasive skills and must be capable of understanding realtime behavioural patterns, language and dialect of the terrorists in the event of a communication channel opening up during a hostage situation.

During the 26/11 attacks, Pakistani terrorists holed up in Nariman House had called up the Israeli embassy in Washington to negotiate for the release of several Israeli hostages inside the building. In fact, one of the terrorists told the Israeli officials to ask India to release the captured terrorist Ajmal Kasab in exchange for the hostages.The Israeli officials, who had to depend on an interpreter to talk to the terrorists, tried to negotiate the release but failed as the terrorists killed all the hostages. The 26/11 terrorists holed up at Oberoi Hotel had also called up a private TV channel saying they were Indians hailing from Hyderabad and demanded the release of all terrorists in Indian jails.During the IC 814 hostage situation in Kandahar in 1999, the then Intelligence Bureau chief Ajit Doval along with Nehchal Sandhu, who went on to become the IB chief, were the chief negotiators. The hostage episode on foreign soil in Afghanistan ended after India agreed to free three dreaded terrorists in exchange for 175 passengers on board. Doval later admitted pressure from government and hysteria back home by relatives of passengers prevented the negotiators from getting the hijackers to scale down their demand to release just one terrorist.[19]


Delayed response time[edit]

There have been several occasions where the lack of proper transportation has hampered the response time of the unit. This was evident during the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight 814 when the unit was stuck in rush hour traffic due to a lack of helicopters. During the Mumbai attacks, the unit was delayed due to lack of aircraft in Delhi and then lack of ground transportation in Mumbai.[20][21]

VIP protection duties[edit]

The task of providing VVIP security for high-risk VVIPs in India is done by the Special Rangers Group (SRG) of the NSG. A large number of SRG personnel are assigned as bodyguards for various political leaders leaving a significantly lesser number of rangers who may be able to assist when the need arises.[22] However, after a recent media uproar, many of the NSG commandos were reassigned from their bodyguard positions back to active duty.[23] As of July 2012, there are 15 VIPs/VVIPs under the NSG security cover. The NSG has decided to pull out the 11th SRG, with its 900 commandos, from VIP protection duties to perform specialist counter-terror and counter-hijack operations. There are plans to convert the 12th SRG to purely counter-terror duties as well.[9]


All the equipment for the NSG is manufactured indigenously by the Indian Ordnance Factories controlled by the Ordnance Factories Board, Ministry of Defence, Government of India.

Upgrades after 26/11[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "THE NATIONAL SECURITY GUARD ACT, 1986 (47 of 1986)". Government of India. 22 nd September. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "National Security Gaurd". Ministry Of Home Affairs. Ministry Of Home Affairs. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  3. ^ :: National Security Guard ::. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  4. ^ BHALLA, ABHISHEK (6 February 2013). "NSG cover to politicos set to rise despite Centre's promises". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "Former DGs". Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b "Modernising the NSG". India Today. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Elite German police wing to train NSG". India Express. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c "NSG to pull out 900 commandos from VIP security for counter-terror operations training". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "NSG's Kolkata hub to serve east, northeast: Chidambaram". Bharat Defence Kavach. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Centre clears NSG for six cities". The Indian Express. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  12. ^ Central nod for 'Black Cats' training campus near Hyderabad - Times Of India. (2013-06-24). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  13. ^ India Deliverance, Time, 1986-05-12
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f "National Security Guards". Bharat Rakshak: Land Forces. Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "NATIONAL SECURITY GUARDS 'Black Cats'". India. Special Operations Website. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "National Security Guards". Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  18. ^ [1] Times of India news. Retrieved 9 Feb 2013, 02.49
  19. ^ NSG to recruit ‘Negotiators’ for hostage situations - Economic Times. (2013-06-14). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  20. ^ "Asia Times Online – The best news coverage from South Asia". Asia Times. 20 November 2004. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  21. ^ "26/11: It took 5 hrs to decide on sending NSG, find aircraft". The Indian Express. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  22. ^ "No more VIP duty". Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  23. ^ Aman Sharma (11 February 2010). "Government cuts security for VIPs with reduced threat: India : India Today". India Today. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  24. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ Glock knife
  26. ^ "Post 26/11, NSG aims for corner shot weapons, ‘through-the-wall’ radars". The Indian Express. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  27. ^ better-preparedness-since-26/11-NSG-chief/articleshow/5226976.cms Upgrade-2

External links[edit]