US experts train NSG, Army on IED-defusing skills


As improvised explosive devices (IEDs) grow more lethal with military-grade explosives and high-impact design and drones become the favoured mode for Pakistan-based elements to smuggle them into Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, the National Security Guard (NSG) and Indian Army personnel too are upgrading their bomb handling and disposal skills by training with the US Explosives Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (USEODMU) at Guam in the US.

During the two-week joint training programme in Guam from July 10 to July 21, 2023, experts from USEODMU and Rapid Material Analysis Cell-Pacific are training bomb experts from NSG and Indian Army in explosive ordnance disposal, post-blast investigations and sensitive site exploitations. Advanced training will cover aspects like detonator analytics, electronic and digital exploitation, field-level evidence and analysis.
NSG, through its National Bomb Disposal Centre (NBDC), handles all the emergencies relating to IEDs and bombs, including their disposal, post-blast investigation and analysis.

As per NBDC data, there were a total 90 IED attacks across India in the year 2022, down from 132 in 2021. The number of recoveries of IEDs rose to 558 in 2022 from 536 in 2021. An NSG source said while the nearly 32% decline in IED attacks is a positive trend, concerns remain on the changing nature of IEDs and methods employed for IED attacks.

For instance, most IEDs in J&K and Punjab are now not made in India but sent from Pakistan via drones; these may either be ready-to-use or flown out as separate components to be assembled here. Most Pakistan-origin IEDs use high-grade military explosives like RDX. In the last couple of years, magnetic bombs too have emerged as a threat. Many have a copper cone at the base that creates a hollow charge, creating a high-impact explosion with low explosives that can rip even bullet-proof surfaces.

“The joint training by US forces will expand NSG’s pool of experts and instructors, who will also be key contributors in capacity building of other security forces and agencies. The training will prepare forces to take on IED-related challenges, including during the upcoming G-20 conference,” said an officer.

The joint training in Guam is part of the ongoing mutual capacity building subject matter expert exchange programmes between NSG and the US Special Operation Forces. Last month, the US forces and NSG had conducted training sessions on handling chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats at the NSG Garrison in Manesar, Gurgaon. NSG also conducts an annual counter-training exercise with the US Special Forces called ‘Tarkash’; the 2023 edition covering counter-terror tactics in an urban environment, was conducted in Chennai.

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