Indian Army’s Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) Centre and College, at Meerut, is the only institute of its kind involved in breeding, rearing and training dogs for Defence Forces, Paramilitary Forces and friendly foreign countries. It is also a nodal agency for dog breeding and training in the country. Dogs trained here have saved many lives. They have retrieved human bodies in Leh area after the cloud-burst and provided canine security during the Commonwealth Games. Raised in special breeding kennels in Meerut, they have received Shaurya Chakras and as many as 29 special commendations from the COAS, while their handlers have won three times more. These dogs have been part of over 300 anti-militancy encounters over the years and sniffed out explosives and mines in well over 100 instances.
Lieutenant Colonel S S Kashyap, an RVC officer who breeds such dogs, was quoted in media saying, “A dog army of 12,000 specialised canine breeds, mostly Labradors, German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherd, is in place in the Indian Army”. Our success rate against the militants has shot up with the use of these dogs.
Indian Army will reportedly, soon have its first unit of dogs mounted with cameras which will help the troops with visual guidance during tricky situations and hostage crises.
Dogs have also proved to be invaluable assets for police forces in homeland security.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),which protects all airports and installations countrywide, has more than enough Labradors as sniffer dogs in their dog squad, but in searching aircraft, they could not sniff some spots, especially the area below the seats. A Cocker Spaniel was tried out and found effective in accessing smaller spaces and have been trained to go under the seats or sneak into small corners to sniff out suspected explosives. CISF has its own dog breeding and training centre in Ghaziabad, raised in 2010, which procured pedigree pups of Labrador and cocker spaniel breeds and provided eight months training before deploying them for active duties.
Juliet, a Belgian Malinois dog with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), deployed in anti-Maoist operations at Daitari in Odisha and her handler, were recently. awarded Director General’s Commendation by CRPF chief Dilip Trivedi for sniffing out two landmines, each weighing 20kg, buried about 2 feet underground, thereby saving lives of an entire CRPF platoon.
Border Security Force (BSF) dog Anny homed on Ms. Thalitha Mosiga Potgietar (33), carrying a South African Passport, who alighted from an Ethiopian Airlines flight that had landed in Mumbai. Alerted by the enthusiastic dog, the officials began conducting checks on her and recovered 16 kg of Ephedrine drug worth Rs 3.2 Crore,” The drugs were concealed inside cardboard boxes and wrapped in embroidery lace. She is said to have been holding this package when the incident occurred. The boxes were wrapped up so well that they would never have appeared suspicious to the officers, had it not been for Anny’s welltrained sense of smell.
As a goodwill gesture, India has decided to train five special sniffer dogs for the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) at the Chandigarh-based canine training centre of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Labradors and German Shepherds will form the first elite squad of sniffer dogs for the RBP.
Army/security forces dogs have gone way beyond merely being ‘man’s best friend. Some of them have even died by bullets or shrapnel while in action.