Faced by increasing intelligence that non-state actors plan to attack nuclear facilities in the nation, the Indian Army has set up special teams to coordinate and execute response to nuclear attacks. Responding to a Parliamentary Standing Committee on an announcement made by National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, the Defense Ministry said it is planning to set up special Quick Reaction Medical Team (QRMT) in New Delhi. Although Narayanan’s report did not explicitly state that the Capital is being threatened, it is generally accepted that the threats to New Delhi is very high.
The Army is playing out two scenarios—one as an attack with a Nuclear-Biological or Chemical (NBC) weapon and the other from air or land to irradiate the capital. The Army has apparently raised such quick response teams for each of its 6 commands.
This is the first time that India is actively considering threats from non-state actors because of “changing security environment.” It also made a vague remark that the Army “should relook (sic) into our special preparedness and take all steps” and it is not clear whether they were dissatisfied by the current plan or trying to make encouraging remarks.
Another scenario that is being played out is ability to handle a tactical nuclear war where an enemy can use a tactical nuclear bomb (below 1 kiloton) on troop concentrations. For this scenario, the Army has special personal protective gear for troops in forward areas, specialized equipment to monitor radiation, and also adequate training in “mitigation techniques, decontamination drills and NBC operation bricks and platoon bricks.” The Army has been practicing through regular exercises for special battalions the last 4 years to handle such situations.
Defense Ministry sources revealed that it has set up the Armed Forces Institute of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection in Delhi to train all personnel of the air force, medical officers, and paramedical staff on treatment of NBC casualties.