ITBP gets 17 'Osama Hunter' pups in canine squad

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New Delhi, Nov 5 (PTI) The combat canines squad of border guarding force ITBP has been bolstered by the birth of 17 'Belgian Malinois' pups, and the force plans to train them in infantry patrol and anti-terrorist duties, officials said on Thursday.

This is one of the highest numbers of homegrown pups of this breed that the force has received, they added.

Since their introduction in India about a decade ago, 'Belgian Malinois' dogs have been extensively used by central security forces and police units in anti-Naxal operations and counter-terrorist tasks.

These dogs first shot to international fame after they assisted US Navy SEALs in the 2011 operation that killed Osama bin Laden in his safe haven in Pakistan and were then famously called the 'Osama Hunters'.

The parents of these pups born at the forces' National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD) in Panchkula's Bhanu area are serving in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

Five-year-old sister dogs Olga and Oleshya are their mothers, and their father is Gala, who was recently deployed for security duties in Himachal Pradesh when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang, an ITBP officer said.

Olga gave birth to nine pups, while Oleshya had eight between September 30 and October 4, he said.

The two female dogs have served with ITBP units deployed for anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh and have sniffed out numerous improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and saved lives of troops on patrol.

These pups will be trained in infantry patrol and anti-terrorist roles, the officer said.

He added that the ITBP may also hand over these trained four-legged soldiers to its various sister security forces as responsibilities in the internal security domain are growing.

'These pups are genetically top class and from a very robust bloodline, imbibing the best genetic vigour from their mothers, who are fearless, agile and have superb olfactory capacity,' ITBP Deputy Inspector General (Veterinary) Sudhakar Natarajan said.

The ITBP, with about 90,000 personnel, is tasked with guarding the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control with China, apart from rendering a variety of internal security duties in the hinterland like anti-Maoist operations. PTI NES IJT