A crack team of counter-terror NSG commandos has been permanently based at its newest hub in Gujarat by the central government.
This is the fifth hub of the National Security Guard (NSG) in the country after four such bases were operationalised in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai post the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Officials said the new hub, operationalised recently near capital Gandhinagar, has been tasked with securing the entire western flank of the country from Gujarat to Rajasthan.
About 100 commandos of the counter-terror and counter- hijack squads of the NSG have been based at the hub, officials told PTI.
The commandos are currently operating from a Gujarat Police facility.
They were first sent to Gujarat last year in March after Intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror strike in the state and now, the officials said, they have been based permanently there.
The facilities at the permanent hub, on a 1.33 lakh sq m land near the Randesan village in Gandhinagar, will be enhanced soon and a proposal to equip the centre with commando training facilities, living barracks and other logistics is in progress, they said.
The Centre, a few years ago, had proposed to create the latest hub of the elite black cat commandos force in Gujarat as it shares a 512-km-long land border with Pakistan and has 1,640-km-long coastline.
It is foreseen that in case of a terror threat or attack to locations in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the commandos can be airlifted or deployed for action in quick time from here.
The nearby hub in Mumbai could supplement its efforts in case the challenge erupts at two-three different locations at one given point of time.
The Gujarat government, after handing over the land to the NSG for the hub last year, had said while the market value of the plot is more than Rs 470 crore it is giving it to the Centre at a token cost of just Rs 1.
The main garrison for the commando force is in Manesar in Gurgaon, near the national capital.
Creating NSG hubs in all the four corners of the country was aimed at rushing in the commandos for any counter-terror and counter-hijack operation in quick time.
The response time taken by the commando force for countering the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 had come under criticism and therefore the government had decided to station the commandos at various locations so that crucial time was not lost in transit.
NSG was raised in 1984 as a federal contingency force to counter terrorist activities.