NEW DELHI: The Centre is planning to position commandos in metropolitan cities and large States in order to reduce the response time to situations like the latest Mumbai terror attacks.
This proposal emerged at several high-level meetings here, including the one convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the other by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil.
Dr. Singh has convened an all-party meeting for Sunday to brief and consult the political leadership.
Now that it was believed that the terrorists took the sea route to Mumbai, the government decided to have better coordination among the Navy, the Coast Guard and the police in an institutional mechanism to expeditiously upgrade coastal security.
The issue of registering all fishing boats with the police was also discussed.
In Mumbai, “all operations are over. The National Security Guard has formally reported the completion of Operation Black Tornado at all the three places, which are being sanitised,” senior Union Home Ministry official M. L. Kumawat told journalists here on Saturday evening. The death toll in the attacks was put at 183 — 20 security personnel, 22 foreigners and 141 Indian civilians.
Mr. Kumawat said nine terrorists were killed and one was captured. “There are no more terrorists in Mumbai. All have been killed or captured,” he said on the basis of inputs from the Maharashtra police.
While denying that there was delay in despatching NSG commandos to Mumbai, the official said the government was planning to place commandos at select locations so that the ‘golden hour’ was not lost in travelling to the place of a terrorist attack. These commandos would be rushed to the site and they would hold the fort until reinforcements arrived from their base at Manesar on the outskirts of the national capital.
Mr. Kumawat declined to answer several queries on the grounds that any disclosure at that stage was not in the interest of investigations into the Mumbai terror strikes. “The Maharashtra police has solid leads and is working on them.” The NSG recovered four AK-47 rifles and pistols each, besides live hand-grenades and several rifle magazines. The inventory at the Taj hotel was still in progress. The security forces rescued about 600 people from Nariman House and the Oberoi and Taj hotels.
Dr. Singh reviewed the security situation at his meeting with the Defence Secretary, the Home Secretary and the chiefs of the three armed forces, besides the Coast Guard Director-General and the Intelligence Bureau Director. Earlier, the meeting convened by Mr. Patil was attended by the Home Secretary, the Chief of the Naval Staff, the Coast Guard DG, the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff and senior officials of his Ministry.