National Security Guard (NSG) was set up in 1984 as a Federal Contingency Deployment Force to tackle all facets of terrorism in the country. It was raised to a special force by the Cabinet Secretariat under the National Security Guard Act of the Indian Parliament in 1986. NSG is an elite force, working completely within the Central Armed Police Forces structure. It is one of the finest counter terrorist units in the world performing a variety of roles from counter-terrorism to hostage rescue to VIP protection.
NSG is a task-oriented force, modeled on the pattern of the SAS of UK and GSG-9 of Germany and has two complementary elements in the form of Special Action Group (SAG) and Special Ranger Groups (SRG). SAG, the offensive wing comprise of army personnel and SRG consists of members from Central Paramilitary Forces (CPFs) and Central Police Organisations (CPOs) such as the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and State Police forces. The primary function of the SRG is to play a supportive role to the SAG, especially in isolating target areas. The task of providing VVIP security for high-risk VVIPs in India is done by the SRG of the NSG.
The smallest combat unit in the NSGs counter-terrorist operations is known as hit which comprises five members - two pairs, or partners and a technical support member. Four hits make a team which is under the command of a Captain. The number of hits used for an intervention job depends on its complexity and the magnitude of the operation.
The NSG operates under the oversight of the Ministry of Home Affairs and is headed by the Director General of the Indian Police Service (IPS). NSG members/ commandos are popularly known as Black Cats because of the black drill cotton coveralls and balaclavas or helmets they wear.
The specific goal of NSG commandos include :
NSG is specially equipped and trained to deal with specific situations and is therefore, to be used only in exceptional situations. The Force is not designed to undertake the functions of the State Police Forces or other Para Military Forces of the Union of India. The motto of NSG is - One for All, All for One.
How to Join in NSG
Training in NSG
The National Security Guard Training Centre is located at Manesar in Haryana about 50 km from New Delhi. The 14 month training program commence with the basic training which last for 3 months (90 days). The basic training include physical fitness that has 26 elements, ranging from a cross country obstacle course to jumping from heights and across divides, and scaling different kinds of terrain. The training prepares the commandos to handle sophisticated communication equipment, combat gadgets and different kinds of arms/ specialized weapons such as AK-47/ 74s, browning hi-power 9mm pistols, etc. and bolt-action Mauser SP66/ 86SR which is specifically deployed for anti-terror/ anti-hijacking operations. There is a target shooting session at the end of the obstacle course meant to test the aspirant's performance under conditions of stress and exhaustion.
Those who successfully complete the basic trainings are sent for nine months of advanced training.
Advanced Training familiarises the NSG personnel with state-of-the-art surveillance gadgets and other sophisticated equipment. The advanced training unit has a superb bomb disposal squad unit. Advanced training also covers ‘combat room shoot’ in which commandos have to enter a dark room, adjust their vision to the darkness and shoot at a target within three seconds by torchlight or a compatible laser image intensifier. Similar training is also conducted under discotheque strobe lights. Shooting skills are honed at an electronic combat shooting range, which is divided into 11 zones and spread over 400 metres. Recruits have to cover the distance in 6.30 minutes and fire at 29 targets along the way, with the target exposure time between two and three seconds and the targets are of all kinds – vertically rising, popping out, moving and rotating. The faster a person engages the target the more points he scores. It is not just non-reactive targets that they practice against. In twin room shooting, rival combatants enter contiguous rooms and watch each other’s movements on a screen. They are supposed to neutralise each other by shooting at the screen. The exercise test the combatants response time and accuracy under near-field conditions. The men are also put through a battle inoculation program where they have to stand right next to the target while one of their partners shoots at it.
Only those who complete the entire course successfully are inducted into the NSG and given further specialised training. Some NSG personnel are sent to Israel for advanced training. Though it is not known exactly what training they receive, it could probably be the CT/HRT course with Unit 707.
For maintaining the young profile of the force, troops are rotated and sent back to their parent organisations after serving in the NSG for three to five years.
Requirements for Deputation to NSG
A candidate cannot enter directly to National Security Guard force. Since NSG is a deputation force, there is no direct recruitment. The recruitment for NSG Commandos are generally done from existing defence forces. So in order to be eligible to become a National Security Guard, one has to be a soldier or a member/ trainee of a military or para-military force. Only those with excellent performances are considered for NSG. Besides, they should not have any red-ink entry, no criminal record and have no punishment record in the last three years of service.
Ranks in the NSG range from junior commissioned officer to team commander. Aspirants for Entry-level positions are required to be less than 30 years old and should have a minimum of 2 years in the defence service. There are also several physical and psychological tests to assess suitability in NSG.