NSG signs pacts with 8 airlines to use planes for faster reaction

The National Security Guard (NSG) has entered into voluntary agreements with eight scheduled airline operators under which operators have to provide an aircraft to NSG within 30-45 minutes of an emergency......

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 28, 2009 2:50 am

The National Security Guard (NSG) has entered into voluntary agreements with eight scheduled airline operators under which operators have to provide an aircraft to NSG within 30-45 minutes of an emergency. This was disclosed by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today while presenting his third monthly report on the work done in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The need for NSG to have powers to commandeer an aircraft for quick movement of troops had come under focus during the Mumbai terror strikes. In January,the MHA issued a gazette notification under the NSG Act empowering NSG’s Director General or an Inspector General-level officer authorized by the DG to requisition aircraft from any operator registered in India in the interest of public safety. Outgoing NSG chief J K Dutt had underlined the need to streamline the standard operating procedures for requisitioning aircraft during crisis situations. He had said that issues like fitness of a private aircraft and availability of crew were of critical concern and needed to be addressed.

Chidambaram called the filing of the chargesheet in the Mumbai terror attacks case the highlight of the month. “India’s case was summarized in the dossier that was prepared and given to the External Affairs Minister on January 1 and that was shared with many countries including Pakistan. Even if I say so,the dossier was an irrefutable document,solid on its facts and sound in its analysis. After prevaricating for several weeks,Pakistan was forced to admit that its territory was used to plot and carry out the terrorist attacks. That admission was a signal victory for the UPA government’s cerebral foreign policy and coercive diplomacy,” he said.

He said Pakistan appeared to have made a start in investigating the origins of the Mumbai attacks. “We expect Pakistan to take the investigations to their logical conclusion and prosecute and punish the perpetrators of the crime. On our part,we are formulating the answers to the questions raised by Pakistan. Many of the answers are contained in the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police which is a public document,” he said.

Asked about the Pakistan Navy chief’s claim that the 26/11 terrorists had not used the sea-route,Chidambaram said: “I am sure somebody (in Pakistan) will deny tomorrow what the Naval chief said. This is part of prevarication.”

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