Special Protection Group
|Special Protection Group.|
शौर्यम् समर्पणम् सुरक्षणम्|
Bravery, Dedication, Security
|Formed||2 June, 1988|
|Employees||3000 active personnel|
|Annual budget||₹385 crore (US$57 million)(2018-19 est.)|
|Countries||India and abroad|
|Legal jurisdiction||As per operations jurisdiction|
|Governing body||Cabinet Secretariat of India|
|General nature||• Federal law enforcement|
The Special Protection Group (SPG) is "an armed force of the Union for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and former Prime Ministers of India and members of their immediate families wherever they are." It was formed in 1988 by an act of the Parliament of India.: para 1
Former PMs, their immediate family members, and family members of a serving Prime Minister may, if they choose, decline SPG security.
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 18 February 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 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
The "general superintendence, direction and control" of the SPG is exercised by, the Central Government. The head of the force, called a Director, designated as Secretary (Security) in the Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for "the command and supervision" of the force. The director of the SPG since its inception has been an officer from the Indian Police service. Personnel of the Special Protection Group are drawn from Central Armed Police Forces and Railway Protection Force, but the officers are from the IPS or officers of the RPF.
The Director of the SPG, an officer of Director General, designated as Secretary (Security) in the Cabinet Secretariat, and sometimes Inspector General rank, designated as Joint Secretary (Security) in the Cabinet Secretariat, is assisted by number of Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, Joint Assistant Directors. 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.
Uniform and dress
In summer, the SPG men dress in the trademark safari suits, and in winter, formal suits, with sunglasses and a communication earpiece, and concealed personal Equipments. Personal equipment includes goggles bulletproof vest, Kevlar gloves, elbow and knee pads.
Arms and equipment
- FN Herstal F2000
- FN Herstal Five-seven,
- Glock 17 replacing locally built 9×19mm Browning Hi Power variant
- Glock 19
- FN Herstal P90 replacing IMI Uzi & H&K MP5
The Prime Minister's motorcade comprises a fleet of vehicles, including two armoured BMW 7 Series Sedan, two armoured Range Rover, six BMW X5, Toyota Fortuner and a Mercedes Benz ambulance. A Tata Safari jammer also accompany the convoy, besides a few more escort vehicles.
These custom made vehicle, are believed to be able to secure the occupants from landmine blasts to Kalashnikov's bullets. They can run for kilometres 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 do not explode during an attack, their cabins also turn into gas-proof chambers and ensure oxygen supply to secure the occupants in cases of gas attacks. They are also believed to defend the occupants against chemical and biological attacks. For official movement, the vehicle is adorned with the Indian flag. For unofficial events the vehicles are unadorned.
These SUVs carry the agents assigned to the protection detail and are highly armoured. At least 5 accompany the Motorcade at all times.
These are armoured tactical medical support to the prime minister which is always spotted to the rear of the motorcade.
- Tata Safari Electronic Counter-measures Vehicle
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 millimetre-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 India One: Air India One, an aircraft of Air India,the national airline of India,(also referred to a sAI-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 seat Embraer 135 and three customised 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. Narendra Modi used a C-130J Indian Air Force during his visit to Sri Lanka.
- Mi-8 helicopters The Defence Ministry has approved the "conversion" of six new Mi-17 V5s into to replace the old Mi-8 helicopters with IAF's elite Communication Squadron to ferry the President and Prime Minister. Mi-17 V5s have advanced avionics, on-board navigation systems and night-vision devices. The SPG wanted the helicopters to have "high tail booms" to allow cars to come right next to the rear exit staircase without "exposing" passengers to a threat from anyone in the vicinity, additional transit range, better crashworthiness and armour protection.
- Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King used once while transporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to INS Vikramaditya, the aircraft carrier. However the helicopter's original operator was Indian Navy.
Contact with the media
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".
- Section 6, Special Protection Group Act, 1988
- 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.
- "Mayawati not entitled to SPG cover under law - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
- "Prasad's appointment as SPG chief stuns many". Times of India. Nov 3, 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- "Why Intel Agencies are wary of Hiring Muslims and Sikhs - Brijesh Singh - Tehelka - Investigations, Latest News, Politics, Analysis, Blogs, Culture, Photos, Videos, Podcasts". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- "Manmohan Singh Can't Have A Sikh Bodyguard". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- Online, Asia Time. "Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- Unnithan, Sandeep (2008-08-22). "If looks could kill". India Today. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Unnithan, Sandeep (September 01, 2005). "SPG Gets More Teeth". India Today (ISSN 0254-8399).
- 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.
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