4 NSG hubs will dilute capability: Narayanan

Its strength does not lie in numbers, but uniqueness

West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan and former national security adviser has found fault with the creation of four National Security Guards (NSG) hubs, brainchild of erstwhile Home minister P Chidambaram.

Describing the idea as archaic, Narayanan said the hubs would dilute the capability of the anti-terror force. “It is a major mistake to have four hubs. At the most, it could have been two hubs. You can reach anywhere in India within two hours,” he said.

Narayanan, whose relation with Chidambaram was a subject of discussion, did not specify whether he, in capacity of the NSA, had opposed Chidambaram’s decision in 2009.

The four hubs were set up in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai, in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Delivering the first NSG raising day lecture on Friday, the governor said: “Strength is not in numbers but in getting the bravest of the brave personnel. It is better being a lean, mean, mobile and operationally agile force. I am concerned about the current emphasis on increasing the size and numbers of the NSG. I also have reservations about the establishment of four regional hubs. The NSG is an elite special force intended to meet a specific situation and not intended to confront the normal law and order situation.”

Narayanan was also the director of the Intelligence Bureau. “Its strength does not lie in numbers. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it consists of the bravest of the brave personnel, of great virtue and ability, specially trained for undertaking the most difficult tasks. Increasing the number of NSG men, to my mind, is bound to dilute both quality and capability of the force,” he said.

The NSG should be different from other paramilitary forces. The commandos should have expert knowledge on all terror groups like the Lashkar, Maoists and militant outfits operating in the northeastern states. “The NSG should also have its own air capability.

Real emphasis should be on continuous modernisation. The NSG cannot be doing what others are doing,” he said. It can play a substantial role in counter-proliferation and nuclear security.

Intelligence Bureau director Nehchal Sandhu, Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi, Bureau of Police Research and Development Director-General Kuldip Sharma and special directors of RAW and IB, besides several senior Army officers were present.

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