Gurgaon: The country’s elite NSG has embarked on an ambitious project to prepare new-age commandos equipped with high-end weapons to undertake specialised counter- terrorism and counter-hijack operations through land, air and water.

The force, known as the ‘black cats’, will churn out close to 2,000 commandos by 2015-16. They will be completely independent to operate in a hostile environment with the help of artificial intelligence gadgets being developed for them indigenously by DRDO and other premier organisations.

New-age commandos with high-end weapons for NSG

“The National Security Guard is now on the verge of a quantum jump. We have set our plans to prepare a modern commando. A five-year plan has been activated. It primarily concentrates on the commando…a commando who will be independent to operate,” NSG DG R K Medhekar said.

He was talking to reporters on the occasion of NSG’s Raising Day at Manesar garrison here.

The plan has been made keeping in mind that a commando should be independent when he operates…his weapon, his body armour, communication devices, body wearable computer. Water and food should be with him on his body. Some elements in this regard are already under trial and we hope to get the first batch of such new age commandos by 2015-16, Medhekar said.

The NSG chief said two battalions (2000 commandos) will emerge out once the trials and tests are complete and they will be able to operate from air, water and land.

New-age commandos with high-end weapons for NSG Medhekar said the modern commando will be on par with the men of other elite special forces of the world as “terrorists and their designs are advancing with time.”

“This (developing of modern commando) requires a lot of work and developing of data…we are doing it in collaboration with DRDO and artificial intelligence institutes. We have to depend on indigenous methods for this as no one shares their expertise in this field,” Medhekar said.

The NSG DG said the new age commando would be able to transmit real-time images of a crucial operation like the one that killed global terrorist Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s Abbottabad early this year.

Medhekar said the government has approved a host of sophisticated weapons and other logistical requirements which include corner-shot weapons and advanced sniper guns.

“Some of the finest equipment for bomb disposal teams and digital communication has been procured,” he said.

“Our sanction for manpower has been approved keeping in mind our expansion because of four new hubs and two regional centres that were announced in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The permanent structure facilities will soon be inaugurated in all the hubs,” he said.

The NSG has created the hubs in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad including a regional centre each in Hyderabad and Kolkata after 26/11 terror strikes.

The West Bengal government recently approved a 35-acre land in Rajarhat area of Kolkata for the regional centre of the force. However, this is much less land than what NSG was looking for in the eastern metropolis as compared to the 600-acres land for a similar centre which has been handed over by the state government in Hyderabad to the NSG.

The NSG chief also said his commandos will have fresh training exchanges with other special forces of the world including with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the US department of Defense.

Earlier, Union Minister of State for Home M Ramachandran, who was the chief guest, said “responsibilities of the NSG have increased manifold” in the current security scenario and the force should be prepared to meet these expectations.