A team of officers from the Special Protection Group (SPG), a force dedicated for the security of Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members, is currently undergoing an advanced training module in handling Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at the Institute of IED Management of the Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) at Talegaon.
Inaugurated in 2012, the institute has some of the most modern laboratories and equipment and has till now trained teams from several security agencies, including many from abroad.
The focus of the ongoing two-week long training module for the 20 officers of the SPG is on their specific requirements in tackling the threat of suicide bombers, fidayeen attacks and sabotage attempts.
Commandant Jamal Khan, principal of the institute, said, “This course has been designed based on specific requirements of the SPG, which have been conveyed to us during a detailed deliberation with their senior officials.”
Institute officials said the threats that the SPG now came across were completely different from those faced by forces in insurgency affected or Naxal-affected areas.
A retired officer of the Intelligence Bureau said, “The responsibility on the SPG is of the securing very high-profile targets. The organisations or operatives who may target them are ever evolving and use latest sabotage techniques. It has to be understood that this is a kind of sub-conventional war that several non-state actors are waging against us with support from state actors in many cases. So SPG’s basic training is not just about the techniques, but also in understanding how the enemy is thinking.”
An officer of the institute said on the condition of anonymity said, “When Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, an IED in the form a garland was used. In another case in 2011, former Afghanistan President Burhanuddin Rabbani was assassinated by a bomber who was hiding an IED in his turban. Ahmad Shah Massoud, an Afghan political and military leader, was assassinated two days prior to 9/11 attack by an IED in the form of a TV camera. These are kind of threats the SPG may have to deal with and training will comprise of techniques to deal with them.”
One of the laboratories of the Institute of IED Management has a large number of replicas of the IEDs that have been used in terror attacks across India and the world. This laboratory is constantly upgraded as and when incidents of IED attacks take place.
The SPG team would be given a hands-on experience with these IEDs. The SPG team has already received training on total containment vehicle used to transport of live IEDs.
Khan said, “This two-week course has been specially designed to meet the requirements of SPG. The customised training will focus on rendering the explosive device safe and give the participants exposure about various demolition charges.”
The institute has been training the troops deployed in Naxal belt on countering IEDs and has made them self-reliant in detecting and disposing the IEDs. Record numbers of IEDs are successfully being recovered by the troops from these areas.