For the first time in its 32-year history, the country’s elite federal counter-terror force NSG on Sunday gave a miss to its traditional Raising Day celebrations owing to multiple tasks at hand across the country in the wake of heightened security post the surgical strikes. The ‘black cats’ commando force, raised in 1984, has decided to not showcase its counter-terror and counter-hijack drills to the public at its Garrison in Manesar near New Delhi this time and instead just hold the traditional ‘bada khaana’ (feast) for the commandos and a lecture session on the topic of terrorism.
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Every year, the National Security Guard holds grand celebrations to mark the day and invite a Union Minister (of the Home Ministry) to honour its personnel and be the chief guest. Officials said the decision to skip these public celebrations was taken by new NSG Director General S P Singh who, they said, had a two-pronged idea. While the DG pointed out that a good share of the forces’ manpower is deployed for special tasks and is on alert in the wake of the heightened security scenario post the surgical strikes and also due to the ongoing festive season, he also felt that the strike commandos unit should avoid being much visible in the public and maintain its covert character, sources said.
So, they said, when a small organisation like NSG has a large share of its manpower on active duty, holding the usual Raising Day celebrations would not be appropriate and also a strain on resources. During the annual Raising Day celebrations all these years, NSG commandos drawn from the counter-terror and counter-hijack teams used to showcase their skills of countering terrorists and rescuing hostages and VIPs in the presence of invited guests with full media coverage.
“Memory tells us that only once, in 2010, the NSG postponed the Raising Day celebrations from October 16 to 22 as a major manpower of the force was deployed to secure the athletes and dignitaries participating in the Commonwealth Games that were held in Delhi. Else, all other years the celebrations were regular,” NSG insiders said.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh greeted the commandos and their families on the occasion. “NSG is India’s lead counter terrorism force, specially equipped and trained to deal with specific and exceptional situations.
“The NSG commandos have exhibited exemplary courage and professional capability whenever a task has been assigned to them,” he said in his message. The NSG came recently in the picture during the operations to flush out terrorists who attacked the Pathankot IAF base even as several of its special teams across all its hubs in the country are on extra alert at present to respond to any terror-like situation.