Since it involved national security, the commandos did not divulge any details about the joint exercise

After dusk on Tuesday, men clad in black uniforms and holding automatic guns landed at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M).

They were commandos from the National Security Guard and the commando force attached to the Tamil Nadu police. They waltzed through the campus arousing curiosity among students.

“All of a sudden, the campus was teeming with policemen and commandos. We thought there was some trouble in the campus in the wake of the blasts in Bangalore. We thought there was a bomb,” said a source from IIT-M.

But the men in uniform were not on campus to capture criminals. They were there as part of a drill.

The police said this was being done to check the reaction time to emergencies in the wake of the blasts in Bangalore.

“IPL matches are on and so is the Assembly session. So the NSG were conducting various exercises inside the campus. It was done with utmost secrecy and they informed us only at the last moment,” said a police officer.

The drill continued till well after 9 p.m. Since it involved national security, the commandos did not divulge any details about the joint exercise. “It was carried out near the student activity centre where very few people go after dark,” said the officer.

Security experts said the NSG has various teams, including a bomb disposal unit and rescue team — both for air and ground. “Their main aim is to resolve a terror situation in minimal time, without causing damage to property or human lives. In a drill, they try out various methods to rescue hostages and neutralise terrorists. They also practice detection and defusing of bombs in buildings and campuses. This is done once in a while to check their reaction time,” said an expert.

Meanwhile, at Chennai airport, around 400 vehicles were checked, a police officer said. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a team of 40 policemen checked vehicles entering the airport at various spots.

They also checked the vehicles in the car park area of the domestic and international terminals.

A sudden check may be done again anytime this week, the police said.

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