ITBP's 'Crack K-9s' on the job to secure R-Day (IANS Exclusive)
New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Gala, Baghera, Victor, Tanu, Sparrow, Polo, Helli, Sandy, Anny and Brutus are among many 'Crack K-9 QRT' team members of the ITBP's dog squad who have been tasked with sanitising and securing the area around India Gate and Rajpath for incident-free Republic Day celebrations this year in the capital.
The five- to seven-year-old male and female dogs belonging to three separate expert sniffer and assault dog breeds -- Labrador Retriever, Dobermann and Malinois or Belgian Shepherds -- are being used by the Delhi Police for the last four days in anti-sabotage operations for Republic Day parade security duties.
The Delhi Police have requisitioned the world-renowned 'Crack K9 QRT' unit of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for their deployment to sanitise and secure the area around India Gate and Rajpath.
Four days back, the MHA sent an order to the ITBP following a Delhi Police request and the sniffing dogs pushed for the job, sources told IANS. ITBP K-9 QRT (Quick Reaction Team) rushes to the assistance of Delhi Police whenever there is a requisition.
These dogs will also be used for sanitising Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 26 where 'At Home' function is arranged in the evening for Vice President, Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers, Cabinet ministers, Leader of Opposition and other dignitaries by the President, the sources said.
These ITBP K-9s are some of the highly trained and loyal dogs who will sniff terror with "zero error" to ensure that the Republic Day ceremony held under a very high threat perception goes off without a hitch.
ITBP is the largest contributor of dog teams to the Delhi Police for various assignments since the past one decade.
"All the majestic ITBP K-9s deployed this year are hero dogs who have already had a stint in counter-insurgency grid and are battle hardened dogs whose noses miss nothing," ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey told IANS.
Trained for all regions and weather conditions, the official said some of these dogs have been used for anti-Maoist operations and are extremely people-friendly.
He said that these dogs are trained on how to behave with the public and how to react in case of any suspicious activity.
ITBP's serving dog 'Gala' of Malinois breed has done anti-sabotage duty at the all-weather Atal Tunnel inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rohtang in October last year.
ITBP was the first force to deploy Malinois dogs in Maoist-hit areas in 2009 to sniff out hiding insurgents and detecting IEDs, helping the force in saving lives of various security personnel deployed in the region.
Now ITBP has also started scientifically breeding K9s to meet its own demands and provide pups to other Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and state police forces as mandated by the MHA.
Malinois dogs played a key role in hunting down al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, and more recently, Islamic State chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Also known as Belgian Shepherds, the medium-sized herding dog breed from Belgium is known to be highly intelligent, alert and sensitive.
The ITBP also used these dogs for the security of then visiting US President Barack Obama, as well as for the security of all Indian missions in Afghanistan.
Besides Malinois breed, the ITBP's dog squad have been using Labrador Retrievers and Dobermanns.
The 90,000-strong ITBP, which is one of the seven CAPFs of the country, has the primary task of protecting the 3,488 km India-China border and performs a vital role in other assigned security duties.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)