Govt prepares plans to face nuke attack
Amitabha Roychowdhury (PTI)
New Delhi, February 16

Seeking to acquire quick reaction capabilities in the event of a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon attack on the country, the government has almost concluded an exercise to give shape to a Disaster Management Authority (DMA) and plans to provide specialised training to at least 4,000 hand-picked security personnel.

A Cabinet note on granting legal status to this body has already been circulated and is likely to be taken up "very soon", informed sources said.

The proposed DMA would be constituted under the Union Home Ministry.

The body would be authorised to decide on who should be imparted training, evacuation plans, what kind of help can be provided in the event of such an attack, who would provide that help, assessment of the area of impact, placement of trained personnel and equipment to face such contingencies and other related issues, they said.

While India has already put in place a nuclear command and control structure and announced a 'no-first-use' policy, this body would be responsible for limiting the damage in case of the use of weapons of mass destruction against the country.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has already discussed the issue and suggested few changes in the DMA framework.

The proposal also includes imparting specialised training to four companies of Central Industrial Security Force, comprising men who would be hand-picked in terms of their physique and other factors.

They are likely to be trained in the US, Britain and Israel, the sources said.

Besides being trained for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons attack, their training would also equip them for anti-terrorist operations as also handling of natural calamities like earthquakes, the sources said.

This army of trained personnel would be stationed in groups at strategic places in the country from where they can be moved swiftly to any place required.

Another panel on the impact of chemical and biological weapons has been set up under the Ministry of Chemicals to prepare plans for such contingencies, the sources said.