Special Protection Group

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Special Protection Group
विशेष सुरक्षा दल
Abbreviation SPG
Special Protection Group.jpg
SPG Logo
Special Protection Group Flag.jpg
Flag of the Special Protection Group
Motto शौर्यम् समर्पणम् सुरक्षणम्
Bravery, Dedication, Security
Agency overview
Formed 2 June, 1988
Annual budget 408.98 crore (US$61 million)[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
International agency India
Countries India and abroad[2]
Legal jurisdiction As per operations jurisdiction.
Governing body Cabinet Secretariat
Constituting instrument Special Protection Group Act, 1988
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction Protection of international or domestic VIPs, protection of significant state asseets.
Operational structure
Overviewed by Ministry of Home Affairs
Headquarters New Delhi
Agency executive Arun Sinha, Director
Child agency Central Armed Police Forces Railway Protection Force Indian Police Service

The Special Protection Group (SPG) (Hindi: विशेष सुरक्षा दल) is "an armed force of the Union for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and former Prime Minister of India and members of their immediate families." It was formed in 1988 by an act of the Parliament of India.[3]: para 1[4]

Former PMs, their immediate family members, and Family members of a serving Prime Minister (PM) may, if they choose, decline SPG security[3]


Special Protection Group Counter Assault Team (CAT) commandos outside the Red Fort in New Delhi

Before 1981, the security of the Prime Minister of India at the Prime Minister's residence was the responsibility of the Special Security District of the Delhi Police under the charge of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP). In October 1981, a Special Task Force (STF) was raised by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to provide ring-round and escort to the Prime Minister in and out of New Delhi.

After the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984, a review was undertaken by a Committee of Secretaries and it was decided to entrust security of the Prime Minister to a Special Group under unitary and direct control of a designated Officer and the STF to provide immediate security cover both in New Delhi and outside. These decisions were taken as short-term measures.

Then on February 18, 1985, the Ministry of Home Affairs set up the Birbal Nath Committee to go into the issue in its entirety and submit its recommendation. In March 1985, the Birbal Nath Committee submitted its recommendations of raising a Special Protection Unit (SPU). On 30 March 1985, the President of India created 819 posts for the unit under the Cabinet Secretariat. The SPU was then re-christened Special Protection Group and the post of Inspector General of Police was re-designated as Director.

The SPG came into being on 8 April 1985 when Dr. S. Subramaniam, then Joint Director (VIP Security) in the Intelligence Bureau assumed office. Creation of the SPG required an elaborate exercise in order to clearly delineate responsibility of various agencies concerned with the security of the Prime Minister. The provisions contained in the Blue Book, which lays down security guidelines for the protection of the Prime Minister, had to be harmoniously blended with this new concept of proximate security.

IB and the State/UT Police concerned were responsible for coordination, collection and dissemination of intelligence affecting VIP security. State/UT Police and the SPG were responsible for providing physical security arrangements for the Prime Minister, while the IB was to provide the required intelligence inputs to these operational agencies. The SPG functioned as a security group purely on the strength of an Executive Order for three years without a legislation, from April 1985 to June 1988.

The SPG was constituted and trained specially to provide protection to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in view of the threats to him from several sources. But, the organization created for the proximate security of Prime Minister Gandhi, did not contemplate provision of protection to him when he ceased to be Prime Minister, and faced magnified threats. SPG cover for Rajiv Gandhi was withdrawn once he ceased to be Prime Minister. After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991, the SPG Act was amended in 1991 to provide security to former Prime Ministers and their immediate families for a period of 10 years from the date on which the former Prime Minister ceased to hold office.

Command and control[edit]

The "general superintendence, direction and control" of the SPG is exercised by, the Central Government.[3] The head of the force, called a Director, who is responsible for "the command and supervision" of the force.[3] The director of the SPG since its inception has been an officer from the Indian Police service.[5] Personnel of the Special Protection Group are drawn from Central Armed Police Forces and Railway Protection Force, but the officers are from the IPS.


The Director of the SPG, an officer of IG and some times Director General rank, is assisted by number of Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, Joint Assistant Directors.[3][5] The SPG is divided broadly into the following four categories:

  • Operations: Looks after the actual protection duties. In the Operations Branch, there are components like the Communications Wing, Technical Wing and Transport Wing.
  • Training: Deals with the training of personnel on a continuous basis. The SPG imparts training in physical efficiency, marksmanship, anti-sabotage checks, communication and other operative aspects connected with close protection drills and having a bearing on VVIP security with a view to maintaining a high level of physical fitness and to fine-tune the operational skills of SPG Officers. The training programme is constantly reviewed and updated to effectively thwart threats from newer areas and in keeping with existing threat perception.
  • Intelligence and Tours: Threat assessment, internal intelligence pertaining to personnel, verification of character and antecedents, tours and other allied jobs.
  • Administration: Deals with personnel, finance, procurement and other related matters.
SPG giving protection to PM Narendra Modi

Multiple sources have alleged that the Special Protection Group has an unofficial policy whereby Muslims or Sikhs are not recruited for this service.[6][7][8]

Uniform and Dress[edit]

In summer, the SPG men dress in the trademark safari suits, and in winter, formal suits, with reflective sunglasses and a communication earpiece, and concealed personal weapons. Personal equipment includes Nomex Coveralls, Tactical Goggles Bulletproof vest Level III NIJ, Kevlar tactical gloves, Elbow and knee pads, Non-skid tactical boots.

Arms and Equipment[edit]



The Prime Minister's motorcade comprises a dozen odd vehicles,including two armoured BMW 7 Series Sedan, six BMW X5 and a Mercedes Benz ambulance. A Tata Safari jammer also accompany the convoy, besides a few more escort vehicles.

SPG beside BMW at Rashtrapati Bhawan

These custom made vehicle, is believed to be able to secure the occupants from landmine blasts to Kalashnikov's bullets. It can run for kilometers even on flat tyres and are fitted with advance heat sensors to ward off missiles and bombs.While the fuel tanks are made such that they don't explode during an attack, its cabin also turns into a gas-proofchamber and ensures oxygen supply to secure the occupant in cases of gas attacks. They are also believed to defend the occupant against chemical and biological attacks. For official movement, the vehicle is affixed with the Indian flag. For unofficial events the vehicles are left sterile and unadorned.

These SUV's carry the agents assigned to the protection detail and are themselves highly armoured. At least 5 accompany the Motorcade at all times.

These are armored tactical medical support to the PM which is always spotted to the rear of the motorcade.

  • Tata Safari Electronic Counter Measures Vehicle(Jammer)

This vehicle is used to counter guided attacks, such as IEDs, Rocket Propelled Grenades, and Anti-Tank Guided Missiles. The antennas mounted on the roof are solely used in barrage jamming applications, the primary method used to counter IED threats. The antenna configuration can be changed according to threat level, for instance, taller antennas are used to increase the jamming protection distance, or change jamming frequency ranges. There are two dome-shaped EW Sensors. The EW sensors are most likely Millimeter-Wave radars used to detect the launch of an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenades) or laser range finder illumination and launch of an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM).

Air Transport[edit]

Air India One, an aircraft of Air India, the national airline of India, (also referred to as AI-1 or AIC001 ) is the call sign of aircraft carrying the Prime Minister of India, President of India or the Vice President of India. The aircraft is operated as VIP flights by the Indian Air Force(IAF). Apart from the Boeing 747-400 owned by Air India and used on international state visits, the IAF currently owns four 14 seate Embraer 135 and three customized 46 seater Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) that have a VIP cabin and are used for VIP movement. Of these the Boeing 747s are used by either the Prime Minister,President or Vice President when on official overseas visits.The Government has chosen the ultra long-haul Boeing 777-300 (extended range) aircraft to replace the ageing B747s for Prime Minister's use. The PM is also known to have used C-130 J Indian Air Force during Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Sri Lanka.

Indian Air Force Boeing 737-200 SDS-2
  • Mi-8 helicopters The Defence Ministry has approved the "conversion" of six new Mi-17 V5s into VVIP helicopters to replace the old Mi-8 helicopters with IAF's elite Communication Squadron to ferry the President and PM. Mi-17 V5s have advanced avionics, on-board navigation systems and night-vision devices, but they cannot really be a substitute for VVIP helicopters. The SPG wanted the VVIP helicopters to have "high tail booms" to allow cars to come right next to the rear exit staircase without "exposing" VVIPs to a threat from anyone in the vicinity, additional transit range, better crash- worthiness and armour protection.
  • AgustaWestland AW101 VVIP transportation helicopter The AW101 combines the most advanced technologies, mission equipment, security features, comfort. It is equipped with the latest-generation integrated avionics, navigation, communications, safety and security systems.
IAF VVIP Helicopter
File:IAF c130j in Srilanka.jpg
PM Narendra Modi in Colombo

Contact with the Media[edit]

Members of the SPG are barred by the SPG Act,1988, from contact with the media and from publishing or collaborating in publication of "any book, letter or other document".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Budget 2014 focuses on women safety, creating infra in Naxal states". Financial Express. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Section 6, Special Protection Group Act, 1988
  3. ^ a b c d e f The Gazette of India (7 June 1988). "THE SPECIAL PROTECTION GROUP ACT 1988 [AS AMENDED IN 1991, 1994 & 1999]". No. 30. New Delhi: The Government of India. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Mayawati not entitled to SPG cover under law - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  5. ^ a b "Prasad's appointment as SPG chief stuns many". Times of India. Nov 3, 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Why Intel Agencies Are Wary Of Hiring Muslims And Sikhs
  7. ^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Manmohan-Singh-Cant-Have-A-Sikh-Bodyguard/233089
  8. ^ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/HK15Df01.html
  9. ^ a b c Unnithan, Sandeep (2008-08-22). "If looks could kill". India Today. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  10. ^ a b Unnithan, Sandeep (September 01, 2005). "SPG Gets More Teeth". India Today (ISSN 0254-8399).
  11. ^ Swami, Praveen (8 April 2009). "Mumbai Police's Modernisation Programme Built Around Outdated, Inappropriate Weapons". Chennai, India: The Hindu: Online Edition of India's National Newspaper. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 

External links[edit]