Lauding the Special Protection Group (SPG) for excellence in discharging its duties, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday assured the elite force full support to upgrade itself in terms of technology and training to meet new challenges posed by “new-age terrorists”.
Addressing the 27th Raising Day of the SPG, Dr. Singh said terrorism had acquired new forms and new shapes and was now often driven by a “bold and educated class of terrorists”.
“While security forces are seen and known and their actions are mostly predictable, the new-age terrorists are invisible and possess far greater capability to create networks for sharing knowledge, skills and resources,” he said.
Noting that terrorists’ use latest technology as a force multiplier, Dr. Singh said the security environment in the country today was also impacted by a large number of external factors which were not really within its control.
“It is, therefore, of critical importance that the SPG should continue upgrading itself continuously both in terms of technology and training,” he said.
Dr. Singh said the SPG must induct top quality and highly motivated personnel in adequate numbers, provide them an environment that encourages good performance and equip them with the latest technology and skills to meet the ever emerging new challenges.
“I assure our government’s full support to the organisation in its endeavours in this direction,” Dr. Singh said.
The Prime Minister also appreciated the elite force for its “remarkable” work in ensuring security during the recent elections to five state assemblies.
“It was indeed a challenge to provide security to the protectees during the extensive tours that they undertook for the elections and the SPG met this challenge with very hard work and meticulous planning,” Dr. Singh said.
The SPG provides security cover to the Prime Minister and his immediate family and former Prime Ministers and their immediate families.
In case of former Prime Ministers, the decision on providing SPG cover is taken based on the level of threat to them as decided by the central government.
On a personal note, Dr. Singh said he has been a direct witness to the work of the SPG for about eight years.
“I have no hesitation in saying that this elite organisation has acquitted itself remarkably well in meeting these difficult demands and challenges,” he said.
Dr. Singh said the security that the SPG was required to provide should be discreet and unobtrusive, and yet effective.
“The force must ensure the safety of political leaders who in reaching out to the masses sometimes tend to bypass the security chain,” he said, acknowledging the challenge the federal structure poses in tying up security arrangements in the states.
Dr. Singh lauded the SPG for adopting innovative methods in training its personnel and acquiring security preparedness capabilities in line with international best practices.
“In its journey of 27 years, the SPG has served our country with the highest levels of commitment and professionalism. It has emerged as the premier organisation in the country in the field of VIP security,” he said.
“I am sure everyone present here would agree that the SPG has excelled in discharging its duties, which are often difficult, complex and stressful. It has fully lived up to the expectations with which it was established,” Dr. Singh said.