National Security Guard

National Security Guard
National Security Guard
Abbreviation NSG
NSG Logo
Motto Sarvatra Sarvottam Surakhsha
Everywhere the Best Protection
Agency overview
Formed 1984
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency India
Constituting instrument National Security Guard Act, 1986
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction Paramilitary law enforcement, counter insurgency, armed response to civil unrest, counter terrorism, special weapons operations.
Operational structure
Agency executive R K Medhekar, Director General
Parent agency Indian Police Service Indian Army

The National Security Guard (NSG) is a Special Response Unit in India that has primarily been utilized for counter-terrorism activities and was created by the Cabinet Secretariat under the National Security Guard Act of the Indian Parliament in 1986. It works completely within the Central Armed Police Forces structure.

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)[1] and is recruited from the Central Armed Police Forces and the Indian Armed Forces.

The NSG members are also known as Black Cats because of the black drill cotton coveralls and balaclavas or helmets they wear.

The NSG's roles include protecting VIPs, conducting anti-sabotage checks, rescuing hostages, neutralizing terrorist threats to vital installations, engaging terrorists and responding to hijacking and piracy.

The NSG is much sought after for VVIP security for high-risk VVIPs in India, more as a status symbol by the policitians; this task is done by the Special Rangers group(SRG) of the NSG. The Special Action Group is the strike force in anti-terrorist and anti-hijack operations, supported by the SRG and others.

The NSG has a total personnel strength of about 14,500. The NSG is modelled on Germany's GSG 9 (Grenzschutzgruppe 9 or "Border Guard Group 9").[2][3] It is a task-oriented force and has two complementary elements in the form of the Special Action Group (SAG) and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG). All the personnel in the SAGs and some support units, training and HQ are on deputation from Indian Armed Forces, the rest being drawn from the central police organizations.

The SAG is the offensive wing drawn from units of the Indian Army. The 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 NSG Training Centre is a Centre of Excellence and the National Bomb Data Centre holds international conferences. Both are located at Manesar in Haryana. The NSG Headquarters Exchange is located at Mehramnagar, Palam.The 22-week training period includes thirteen weeks of basic training and nine weeks of advanced training.



The NSG's specific goals include:

  • Neutralization of terrorist threats
  • Handling hijacking situations in air and on land.
  • Bomb disposal (search, detection and neutralisation of IEDs).
  • PBI (Post Blast Investigation)
  • Engaging and neutralizing terrorists in specific situations.
  • Hostage Rescue


The NSG was established under the National Security Guard Act of 1986. The NSG was formed after an analysis of 1984 Operation Blue Star. During this operation, in which the Indian Army removed Sikh militants who had seized control of the Golden Temple, there was significant civilian collateral casualties. The temple also suffered damages during that operation. The operation highlighted the need for a force specialising in counter-terrorist operations with greater efficiency.

The NSG commandos were first used to combat the insurgency movement in the Indian state of Punjab in 1986. They are now primarily utilised for counter-terrorist activities and have seen combat operations in Jammu and Kashmir, though sparingly.

NSG deployments are usually not made public, with most of its operations remaining classified.

Some of the NSG's known operations include:

  • 29 - 30 April 1986: 80 officers, 180 JCOs and 1,500 NSG commandos participate in clearing the Golden Temple in Operation Black Thunder I. Temple cleared and handed over to Punjab Police on 01 May 1986. No casualties on either side.
  • January 1988: The NSG conducted Op Black Hawk, a heliborne operation in the Mand area of Punjab. In this operation two terrorists were killed and one 7.62mm was recovered. It was a massive operation, says Ved Marwah, but did not get many spectacular results like in Black Thunder.
  • 10 – 20 May 1988: 1,500 NSG commandos (all ranks) surround the Golden Temple for yet another assault, in Operation Black Thunder II. Sniper teams armed with Heckler & Koch PSG-1 rifles with night scope took up positions, including atop a 300-foot water tower. While commandos from the 51 SAG divided into assault squadrons, the SRG were used to seal off the area around the temple and for tactical support. In the three-day operation between 15 - 18 May 1988, the NSG cleared the temple. 30 terrorists were killed, and 217 surrendered. In mid-1990s, a NSG battalion was again deployed in Punjab to confront the Sikh rioters. There they began training the Punjab Police in counter-terrorism.
  • 05 September - 15 January 1988: Guarding of high-risk terrorist code-named 'Jack.'
  • 04 August 1989: Op Mouse Trap in the Tarn Taran district of Punjab, in conjunction with Punjab Police and other security forces. NSG was able to demonstrate that it was possible to achieve area dominance at night, if the strategy and tactics were right. Ved Marwah calls this Op Night Dominance.
  • 10 November 1990: NSG task force flown to Kolkata to rescue hostages of a Thai airbus by Burmese students.
  • 25 - 26 January 1991: The NSG was involved in Operation Ani Ben, on CI tasks in Baroda, (Gujarat) where Punjab terrorists were holed up inside a house. Two terrorists were killed and two AK-47s were recovered.
  • 01 July-20 September 1991: NSG employed along with SIT in search and strike missions after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
  • 25 November - 16 December 1992: 150 commandos were deployed at Ayodhya during the Ram Janambhoomi and Babri Masjid crisis.
  • 27 March 1993: 52 SAG mobilised and moved to Adampur for rescue of hostages of Indian Airlines Flight IC 486.
  • 24 - 25 April 1993: NSG Commandos storm a hijacked Indian Airlines Boeing 737 with 141 passengers on board at Amritsar airport during Operation Ashwamedh. The hijacker, Mohammed Yousuf Shah, is killed before he can react and no hostages are harmed.
  • October 1998: As part of the implementation of the Union Home Ministry's decision to conduct pro-active strikes against militants, commando teams supported by IAF Mi-25/35 helicopter gun-ships began striking at terrorist groups deep inside the mountains and forests of Kashmir. After helicopter reconnaissance were conducted to pinpoint the militants, the commandos - comprising NSG and Rashtriya Rifles personnel - were para-dropped, along with supplies, into the area to hunt the militants. They had to rely on these supplies and their ability to live off the land until replenishment every fortnight or so. These missions are possibly ongoing.
  • 15 July 1999: NSG commandos end a 30-hour standoff by killing 2 terrorists and rescuing all 12 hostages unharmed in J&K. The terrorists had attacked a BSF campus near Srinagar, killed 3 officers and the wife of another. The 12 hostages were kept locked in a room.
  • 21 August 1999: After interrogating three captured terrorists, the Delhi Police Crime branch confirmed that two more terrorists were hiding in a one-storied house in Rudrapur, Uttar Pradesh. Since the terrorists were considered armed and dangerous (their colleagues were arrested with 100+ pounds of RDX), the Delhi Police sought assistance from the NSG. A 16-man team arrived at the house at 4:45 a.m. They began their assault at 5:30 a.m., before first light. The first militant managed to fire at the commandos with a pistol he kept by his bedside, but was killed an instant later. The second terrorist was shot before he had a chance to fire and died 40 minutes later. No NSG personnel were injured.
  • December 1999: Terrorists hijack Indian Airlines flight IC814 from Nepal, and land in Amritsar, Punjab. Within minutes of landing, the Crisis Management Group (CMG), which authorizes the use of the NSG, is informed. But the CMG wastes precious hours and by the time the go-ahead is issued, it is too late. On the other hand, the NSG team on alert was elsewhere and no other team was raised during the delay. The hijacked plane took off before the NSG reached Amritsar Airport. The plane lands in Kandahar, Afghanistan where one hostage was killed. Finally, the Indian Government agrees to the terrorists' demands to release three jailed terrorists. The hostages are released and the terrorists escape to Pakistan.
  • February 2000: Following the Flight IC 814 fiasco, the Indian Government decided to implement an Air Marshal programme. At least two NSG operators will be present on flights over select routes. These operators will be armed with weapons firing lethal, but low-velocity, fragmentation rounds to minimize danger to the passengers and prevent penetration of the aircraft. Another decision taken was to deploy NSG teams permanently at eight sensitive airports around the country, especially those bordering Pakistan and the North East. This decision will cut short reaction times for the NSG and eliminate hassles involved in flying the teams to the hijack site. It is not known if this plan has been put into action.
  • September 2002 – SAG commandos fly to the Karnataka state in India, in an effort to catch sandalwood smuggler and forest brigand Veerappan, in the wake of kidnapping of a former minister of the state cabinet, Nagappa. They pull out after suggesting that intelligence for the operation was inadequate. A small team is left behind to help, the hostage is eventually killed in December 2002.
  • October 2002 – Two terrorists attack Akshardham temple complex in Gujarat. NSG flies in, delayed by traffic in Delhi. They carry out assaults in which one commando is killed and another one is seriously injured and was in a coma, died after 18 months. But by morning the two terrorists are killed and the operation successfully completed. Op Vajrashakti.
  • December 2002 – Terrorists attack the Raghunath temple in Jammu. NSG ready to be flown out but called back at the last minute.
  • 26 November 2008 Mumbai attacks — Operation Black Tornado and Operation Cyclone to flush out terrorists & rescue hostages after multiple attacks across Mumbai, India. Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havaldar Gajender Singh Bisht of the Special Action Group lost their lives during the operations.

As on December 2008, Germany offered to give additional assistance and training to the NSG by the famous GSG-9.[4]

Additionally,post 26/11, equipment upgrades have been sanctioned and most of the proposed items have been procured and deployed, most notably the CornerShot weapon system.

Former chiefs

The following had commanded the NSG in the past:[1]

  • RT Nagrani
  • MC Mishra
  • KL Watts
  • SD Pandey
  • HP Bhatnagar
  • Ved Marwah
  • DVLN Ramakrishna Rao
  • Dr S Subramanian
  • RK Wadehra
  • BJS Sial
  • AK Tandon
  • RD Tyagi
  • GS Pandher
  • T R Kakkar
  • Nikhil Kumar
  • Gurbachan Jagat
  • Dr GS Rajagopal
  • S C Chaube
  • R.S. Mooshahary
  • G S rajgopal
  • Jyoti Krishna Dutt
  • NPS Aulakh
  • R K Medhekar [5]


There have been several occasions where the lack of proper transportation has hampered the response time of the unit. This was evident during the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight 814 when the unit was stuck in rush hour traffic due to a lack of helicopters. During the Mumbai attacks, the unit was delayed due to lack of aircraft in Delhi and then lack of ground transportation in Mumbai.[6][7]

In response to criticism of the time taken for the NSG commandos to arrive in Mumbai from their base in Manesar, Haryana during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Government of India has decided to deploy NSG contingents in major cities across India like Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai.[8]

A large number of SRG personnel of the National Security Guard are assigned as bodyguards for various political leaders leaving a significantly lesser number of rangers who may be able to assist when the need arises.[9]

However, after a recent media uproar, many of the NSG commandos were reassigned from their bodyguard positions back to active duty.[10]


  • Browning Hi-Power 9mm Semi-automatic pistol
  • Glock 17 9mm Semi-automatic Pistol
  • Glock 19 9mm Semi-automatic Pistol
  • SIG P226 9mm Semi-automatic Pistol
  • Heckler & Koch M-512 12 Gauge Shotgun
  • 1A SMG 9mm Sub-machine gun
  • Heckler & Koch MP5 A3,A5 and SD3 9mm Submachine Gun
  • AKM 7.62x39mm Assault Rifle
  • SIG SG 551 5.56mm NATO Assault Rifle
  • Mauser SP66 7.62mm NATO Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle
  • Steyr SSG 69 7.62mm NATO Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle
  • SIG-Sauer SSG 3000 7.62mm NATO Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle
  • Heckler & Koch MSG-90 7.62mm NATO Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle
  • Heckler & Koch PSG1 7.62mm NATO Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle
  • AGS-17 30mm automatic grenade launcher

Upgrades after 26/11

See also


External links

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