Dhanlaxmi, the mother of martyr Major Sandeep Unikrishan, who died during operation Black Tornado in Mumbai's 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai; Chandra Devi, mother of Subedar Suresh Chandra Yadav (Ashok Chakra), who was killed during operation Vajra Shakti in Akshardham Temple in Gujarat in 2002; Suresh Devi, wife of commando Surjan Singh (Kirti Chakra), who also died in operation Vajra Shakti; and Kamla Devi, wife of Rajendra Prasad who was martyred in operation Black Panthar in Chandigarh in 1995, were honoured by Union Minister of State for Home R.P.N. Singh.
In the professional awards category, Kuldeep Singh was awarded the best Black Cat Commando award, while Meenakshi Payal bagged the Best Woman Commando award.
Prahlad Choudhary, Bhupinder Singh, Dinesh Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Ashwani Kumar and Satyapal Singh were also honoured in different categories.
The first operation of the federal contingency force was operation Black Thunder in 1986, at the Golden Temple in Punjab. Operation Black Tornado in Mumbai during 26/11 terror attack was the force's last major operation. The elite force lost 33 commandos in that operation.
Speaking on the occasion, R.P.N. Singh said there was need to think beyond conventional methods, and expressed confidence that modernisation plans for the NSG would include not only modern equipment, but also training methods and techniques.
Arvind Ranjan, director general of the Black Cats, spoke of initiatives undertaken to strengthen the counter-terrorism apparatus, and elaborated on steps to be taken for greater synergy between the force and the different states. He also said there was need to pay greater attention to the men behind the machines.
The Renault APC-SHERPA vehicle, which allows a 10-man team to be deployed in hostile situations, and could function as an armoured mobile command post, was also launched on the occasion.
--IANS (Posted on 16-10-2013)