New Delhi, Aug 24: Multiple cities in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and the national capital region are hosting synchronised commando drills as part of a national mock exercise being carried out by the counter-terrorist force NSG to check its response time and reaction to hostage and hijack-like situations.
The third edition of the week-long annual exercise called 'Gandiv' has already been launched at these locations by the National Security Guard (NSG) from August 22 and it will continue till August 28, an official statement issued said.
Gandiv was the name of Arjuna's bow in Mahabharata.
"The exercise will be covering potential targets in the NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat depicting multiple cities, multiple targets scenario cumulatively covering about 30-35 targets," it said.
The drills are aimed to "validate the planning parameters" of the commando force in the event of a terrorist attack, hijack of an aircraft or hostage situation.
In Gujarat, the mock drills of armed commandos slithering down from helicopters or undertaking stealth house intervention drills will be conducted in Ahmedabad and state capital Gandhinagar.
The NSG said these cities in the western Indian state have been selected based on "threat assessment and recommendations of the state government."
"A total of 26 important buildings which include educational institutions, hotels, government offices and commercial areas were recced (reconnaissance) in detail by NSG officials and eight locations have been selected for conducting the exercise," it said.
The NSG said these exercises, apart from "validating" its own drills, procedures and standard operating procedures (SOPs) will also "assist to hone" the counter-terror skills of the state administration, police, anti-terrorist squads and also create awareness among the public.
These exercises will be witnessed by officials from the ministries of external affairs, home, central armed police forces (CAPFs), state agencies and foreign delegates, the statement added.
The NSG was raised as a federal counter-terrorist force in 1984 to undertake surgical commando operations in order to neutralise terrorist and hijack threats.
It also has a special squad that provides armed security cover to at least 13 high-risk VVIPs at present.
The NSG has five hubs in the country, apart from its main garrison in Manesar near here, and in each of them a team of commandos is stationed in readiness 24x7 to respond to any threat situation within a 30 minute mobilisation time-frame.
The five NSG hubs or bases are located in Gandhinagar, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai and they were set up post the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.