The NSG, which already provides sky marshals for flights originating from India to SAARC countries, looks set to change its manual on dealing with a hijack situation or an act of terror.
“There are several intelligence inputs about terror-related threats to flights from Gulf countries. Airlines and intelligence agencies have been pressing for sky marshals on vulnerable routes,” a senior official of the home ministry said.
To acquire better skills, NSG officers have sought permission from the ministry to train sky marshals with the GIGN (National Gendarmerie Intervention Group), a special operations unit of the French armed forces.
The NSG also plans to buy a discarded Boeing or an Airbus in which it can provide real-time training to commandos.
“We have an assembled aircraft which we built on our own. We have been training on this aircraft for the last 20 years at our Manesar training centre. We now want a real aircraft to train our men. In all these years, there have been several modifications to aircraft bodies, so we have to change our training model,” an officer said.
The focus is also on a communication system through which sky marshals can interact. “A communication system has to be evolved which will help two sky marshals deployed on an aircraft to alert each other in case of a suspicious person on board. The system has to be such that it does not interfere with the navigation system of the aircraft,” the officer said.
Due to the shortage of personnel, the NSG is not able to deploy men on all flights and has asked the ministry to increase its strength. The NSG has also obtained para motor gliding sets for its men to navigate in difficult and inhospitable areas.
“After the Mumbai attack, we were given powers to fly the first available aircraft at the airport for operational purposes in case of a hijack or a terror strike. We are trying to give it legal backing,” the officer said.