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Paratroopers to meet NSG's manpower needs

January 14, 2009 14:54 IST

To meet additional demand for special troops for the National Security Guard, army has agreed to provide its paratroopers for manning new NSG hubs set to come up in four cities to tackle any terrorist threat.

"Whatever paratroopers or other troops are required to enhance the capabilities of the NSG, we will provide them," Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor said in New Delhi on Wednesday on the sidelines of a seminar on 'Threats and Challenges for the Indian Army'.

"The army is certainly facing shortage of officers and we will see how we can combat it. But if the government needs manpower in the anti-terror operations, we will certainly provide them," Kapoor said, when queried about the army's manpower constraint and meeting the government demand for NSG.

He said the Special Forces should enhance its capabilities and develop interoperability with the NSG to tackle the terror threat and stressed the need for every armed unit of the army to have the capability to counter heightened threats from terrorists.

"Every combat arms unit should have a limited, yet focused capability to meet such challenges," Kapoor said.

He said the country will continue to rely on SF of the three Services to tackle the threat from terrorists till the time the NSG was able to expand to its planned capacities.

"The country will continue to rely on some of the SF, which are there with the respective services, predominantly with the army, should there be a situation," the army chief said.

Stating that the army will have to upgrade its capabilities to tackle low-intensity conflicts, he said: "We will require renewed focus on the upgrading of the counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency capabilities based on emerging technologies to train and equip our soldiers to fight cleaner, better and safer."

Kapoor said the force would continue to play a role in counter-terrorist operations, even though they were the responsibility of the forces under the home ministry.

"Countering terrorism and managing internal security primarily remains the responsibility of the home ministry and agencies under it. However, since heightened terrorist attacks have become a reality today, we need to take some measures for self-protection and provide assistance to the central forces in times of emergencies," Kapoor said.

He said the armed forces were required to maintain a high level of combat readiness at all times to meet emergencies.

"We live in troubled times and a fragile region and the possibility of a marginal conventional conflict cannot be ruled out. We must maintain high level of combat readiness at all times," he said.

On the nuclear threat faced by the region, Kapoor said: "The presence of nuclear weapons in our neighbourhood, underlines the fact that any conventional war can at any time turn in to a nuclear war, provided a certain threshold is crossed by either side."

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