India mulls VIP security unit

June 19, 2006 at 1:55 PM
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NEW DELHI, June 19 (UPI) -- The Indian government has established a committee to review VIP security issues.

The Times of India reported on June 18 that the committee will send its recommendations to Home Minister Shivraj Patil. According to official sources speaking on condition of anonymity, the committee will consider methods to make security "less obtrusive" and establish whether state security costs should be shared by those protected.

The government is also considering a proposal to create a permanent VIP security force. P.V. Bhide, additional secretary for centre-state relations in the Home Ministry, heads the expert committee. The committee will solicit views from various security agencies and is expected to submit its report soon.

The sources said that the issue of raising an exclusive force for VIP security, other than the elite Special Protection Group which provides cover to the prime minister, former prime ministers and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her family, raises concerns about reducing the confusing and overlapping responsibilities of a number of agencies and paramilitary forces.

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