Established in 1984, following Operation Blue Star, the National Security Guard is a special unit of the Indian Special Forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The primary reason for its conception was to combat terrorist activities with a view to protect states against internal disturbances.
The NSG Commandos are the best in India and rank amongst the top 5 in the world of elite special forces. Here are some lesser known facts:
1. The NSG is actually modelled on Germany’s GSG 9 (Grenzschutzgruppe 9 or “Border Guard Group 9”)
The GSG 9 is one of the world’s most elite counter-terrorist faction. In the words of a former member of the German infantry: “GSG-9 got created and founded for one specific reason: counter-terrorism. We move in as a team of five, we take care of it, and everything is basically over before they even know what happened. We do not mess around.”
2. NSG commandos are divided into two groups – the Special Action Group (SAG) and the Special Rangers Group (SRG)
The SAG comprises of 54% of the force and is the elite, offensive wing that has members drawn from the Indian Army. The SRG has members on deputation from central police organizations like the CRPF, the BSF, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Rapid Action Force. Primarily, the function of the SRG is to assist the SAF, especially in isolating target areas.
The NSG comprises of a total personnel strength of 14,500.
3. They are also called Black Cats
This is because of their black coloured drill cotton coveralls and the black cat insignia on their uniform.
4. The rudimentary training period at the organization’s training centre lasts for 90 days. Only those who successfully complete the entire course are inducted into the NSG and undergo nine months of advanced training.
The physical fitness training comprises of 26 elements, ranging from jumping from heights to cross-country obstacle courses. The endurance test meant to gauge a candidate’s performance under stress includes martial arts, target-shooting at the end of an obstacle cross-country run. They are trained in parkour and Pekiti-Tirsia Kali, a form of martial arts from Philippines.
5. Once that is done, the next stepping stone is the probationary period, where about 50-70% of the recruits drop out, owing to tough competition.
6. The NSG Commandos are trained to only take head shots…. and two at one go!
The double-tap system ensures proper neutralisation of the target.
7. They are also put through a battle inoculation program where they do something that’s a little difficult to fathom.
They have to stand right next to the target while one of their partners shoots at it!
8. That’s not it, they don’t even wear the kavach, or the bullet-proof vest, during this drill!
They are forced to be that precise when it comes to shooting the target!
9. NSG Commandos do more firing in a week of “alert status” than in their entire time in the Army
On an average, a commando fires close to 14,000 rounds over a period of two months (alert status).