The NSG, which provides top category security cover to select VIPs like Home Minister Rajnath Singh and a number of chief ministers, has upgraded its protocol and armour on lines of the Special Protection Group (SPG) in view of the upcoming election season in the country.
The elite counter-terror force has adopted a 'close protection force' (CPF) protocol, that totally reinvents its drills, to better secure dozen VIPs under its 'Z+' cover of 'black cat' commandos, official sources said.
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With this change, NSG commandos now provide close-body protection to VIP protectee every time they visit a public place as compared to the earlier mobile security concept where commandos only secured the person while on move, the sources said.
The SPG, similarly, protects its VIPs outside and inside a venue with safari suit donning commandos encircling the VIP like their shadow, they said.
The CPF has been trained and created on the lines of the 'close protection team' concept of the SPG that provides proximate security to the prime minister, ex-prime ministers and their families, they added.
The change in the VIP security 'black book' of the National Security Guard has been made keeping in mind the threat perception profile of its protectees, ranging from the union home minister to chief ministers of Naxal violence and insurgency hit states, and the very busy forthcoming election season in the country, they said.
The new VIP security commandos' team have also been provided with a modern and compact hand-held ballistic shield, protective black goggles and state-of-the-art digital communication devices as part of the new security protocol, they said.
The modern gadgets are sophisticated and allow the commandos to manoeuvre with the VIP in closed spaces like buildings or halls, they said.
The charter of usage of their standard weapons during VIP security duties-- the MP5 gun and Glock pistol- has also been revised as per the new task and the teams now carry a variety of ammunition with them in pouches and the muzzle of their guns now point towards the ground rather than towards the sky as part of quick reaction response, the sources said.
The commando teams now have a clear-cut task of offence and defence divided between themselves in case of an attack or sabotage against the VIP as compared to largely defence and retreat protocols adopted by them in the past, they said.
For the first time, the NSG has begun doing an advance security liaison (ASL) for the home minister (sanitising a venue before the visit of the VIP) and in select cases for the other protectees under its cover on a need basis, they said.
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The ASL has essentially been an SPG protocol till now and has also been extended to BJP President Amit Shah who is protected by the CRPF, they said.
The NSG at present guards’ VIPs like former Deputy PM L K Advani, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, former Jammu and Kashmir CMs Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad and ex UP CMs Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav.
A specially trained team of about 500 NSG commandos have been divided into three units called special rangers’ group (SAG) to render VIP security duties.
The force was raised in 1984 as a federal contingency force and its primary task is to undertake specialised counter-terror and counter-intelligence operations.