Police forces in mega cities will be provided with helicopters like in New York and London and other big cities of the world, Home Minister P Chidambaram said in Mumbai on Tuesday. "There are plans to provide helicopters for the mega city policing. So when mega city policing project is complete, mega cities will have helicopters," Chidambaram told reporters after inaugurating the first of the four hubs of elite National Security Guard commandoes in Mumbai. "That is the way policing is done in cities like New York and London and other big cities," he said.
The Government had decided to set up these hubs after drawing a lesson from the delayed arrival of NSG team at Mumbai when terrorists struck on November 26 2008. The 23-acre hub located at Marol, a suburb in Andheri, is close to the Airport and with its operationalisation, the response time of the commando force in countering any terrorist action in the western region would be reduced "very significantly". Chidambaram will inaugurate similar hubs at Chennai and Hyderabad. Kolkata's NSG hub would also be inauguarted on Wednesday.
The Home Minister said the Maharashtra government has been raising a force called 'Force 1' which would receive training with the NSG. "As far as I know ... they are raising a force called 'Force 1' and that will also be trained in NSG headquarters. So some of the training that is imparted to NSG will also be imparted to Force 1 troops," Chidambaram said.
Chidamabaram said the hub in Mumbai does not mean it will cater to Mumbai only. "The hub in Mumbai does not mean that it will only serve Mumbai. It is a hub. It will cover entire Western India. It can fly as far as it is required in the event to fly. "We will establish the hubs so that all of India is eventually covered and you know we have already established special forces hub in Bengaluru. We are trying to locate one in Jodhpur ... in Guwahati. So these hubs of NSG and the armed forces are intended to cover the whole country," he said.
Chidambaram said that first responder to any terrorstrike is the state police. "...but in an anti-terrorist or an anti-hijacking situation, since NSG is a specialised force, I would expect the state police would call upon the NSG to assist ... The commander of the NSG hub in Mumbai will respond to a call from the state police authorities." he said.
When asked about the investigations of BBC in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, the Home Minister said, "Please understand a trial is going on. The matter is subjudice. None of us can comment on a matter which directly relates to the trial. BBC has a luxury of doing that but I do not have luxury of doing that."
About the reports of threat from the sea route, Chidambaram said that inputs have been shared with Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra but that did not mean there was any imminent threat. "...that is a normal practice. Intelligence inputs are shared with the states. That does not mean there is an imminent threat. That only means we must be aware of such an input and take preventive and pre-emptive measures in case such a threat materialises." "There is a comprehensive coastal security scheme. We have authorised a certain number of police stations, certain number of police posts, a large number of boats and that scheme is being implemented." he said. "It is an ongoing scheme. Once, the scheme is implemented coastal security would be stronger. We have set up a coastal command, we have made the navy the authority for coastal command. The coast guard is being placed as the instrument to implement the duties of coastal command," Chidambaram said