After getting the power to requisition any aircraft during emergencies, the National Security Guard has got the approval of the Indian Air Force to use its planes to transport commandos for anti-terror duties.
The NSG, in the aftermath of the November 26 Mumbai [ Images ] attacks last year, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with eight different private airlines enabling it to requisition any aircraft for immediate transport of commandos.
"It has been officially formalised that the IAF will provide us air support in case any assistance is needed. The air force will also assist in training," NSG Director General N P S Aulak said.
"We are thinking of having helicopters, which in a way would be a dedicated one (for the NSG), but they would either be with the air force or with the home ministry's air wing.
"We have not sent the proposal as yet to the government. We don't want to have an exclusive air wing as then you need pilots, technical staff and parking hangars etc.," Aulakh said.
The NSG will also have additional 13,000 men in its ranks as the force is in process of fully operationalising the four new hubs and two regional centres across the country.
"The strength of the force has been enhanced by about 13,000 men and their induction has begun. The initial batches are being put under training and further induction will take place simultaneously," Aulakh said.
The time taken by the NSG commandos to travel to Mumbai from their Manesar (Haryana) garrison during the 26/11 attacks prompted the government to amend the NSG Act, which till then only authorised the force chief to requisition an aircraft for anti-hijack duties.
The DG said that the force could also get aircraft and helicopters from the home ministry's air wing or from the cabinet secretariat -- known as the Aviation Research Centre.
Aulakh, who took charge of the force on February 28 this year, said the commandos are now being imparted new training skills and tactics to "enhance their mental and physical endurance".
"Special tactics and skills are being imparted to commandos to enhance their physical and mental endurance. The men are already very tough but during the Mumbai operation we saw that they continuously fought for more than two days..." he said.
Post 26/11, an upgrade in weaponry, surveillance and communication equipment has also taken place and we are procuring special weapons from various foreign countries, he said."The procurements (weapons and equipment) are at an advanced stage," Aulakh added.