NEW DELHI, Jan 22 � One of them was part of the elite US Navy SEALS team that hunted down the dreaded Osama bin Laden and now this special squad is in the capital as part of US President Barack Obama�s security drill, reports PTI.
No, these are not the US marines, but are American �canine officers� who are here to help sanitise and conduct anti-sabotage checks at some of the prime venues where Obama will visit during his three-day trip to India starting this Sunday. These officers have been also given military ranks.
Sources said today that an elite team of seven Belgian �Malinois� dogs, one of which assisted the US Navy SEALS in neutralising bin Laden in Abbottabad in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, have been flown down here.
The immediate task of the canines is to secure ITC Maurya � which will be Obama�s home for three days � along with their counterparts from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
Officials familiar with the canines� operation said both the dog squads have been deployed to �sanitise and secure� the luxury hotel and have been tasked with sniffing different flanks of the hotel.
After this, another batch of these four-legged soldiers will be pressed into service for similar duties at Rajpath, Rashtrapati Bhavan and a few other locations.
�The first batch of about seven US Navy SEALS dogs have arrived here. They have been tasked to work in coordination with a chosen squad of Labradors and German Shepherds of the ITBP. The US has given them military ranks and call them canine officers,� officials said.
They said a joint security teams of US and Indian sleuths decided to deploy the combination of these two units so that �nothing is left to chance.�
�The ITBP dogs are trained to perform in Indian conditions. They will complement the work of the American dog squad. Another batch of the US dogs team is expected to come later,� they said.
The ITBP, a border guarding force under the Union Home Ministry and a centre for excellence in police and military canine subjects, has already pooled in a 30-dogs squad for the entire visit of the US President, who will be the chief guest of this years� main Republic Day parade here on January 26.