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Prime Minister's speech at the 16th raising day of the Special Protection Group (SPG)


Delivering a speech on the occasion of the 16th raising day of the Special Protection Group (SPG) in New Delhi on April 9, Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee dwelt in detail
on the terrorist menace affecting the country and the role of security forces
in facing this challenge. The full text of the speech is reproduced here.

"On the sixteenth SPG Raising Day, I extend my warm felicitation to all members of the Special Protection Group and their families.

I am happy to be here and witness an interesting and informative presentation on VIP security. I congratulate all those SPG personnel who have been awarded Presidentís Police Medal for distinguished service and the Indian Police Medal for meritorious service.

Democratic societies all over the world face a serious challenge from terrorism, especially state-sponsored terrorism. Terrorism is driven not only by religious but also by ethnic nationalism resulting in manifold increase in targeted attacks and loss of precious lives. The international community must devise effective measures to combat these inhuman acts if democracies are to function according to their chosen path.

We have been suffering from cross-border terrorism for over a decade and are determinedly facing the challenge both in the field of internal security as well as on our borders. The international comity of nations has started recognising this threat in which the police and security agencies have been playing a highly effective and often unrecognised role in ensuring the internal security of the country.

The priorities of my government have been to strengthen our national defence mechanism for ensuring the unity and integrity of the nation. Simultaneously, we are pursing economic reforms that will bring in faster economic growth and result in equitable distribution of wealth for the betterment of the poor, backward, and downtrodden majority.

This can be achieved only if there is peace and stability in the country. The police and security agencies can further contribute significantly in this direction by improving their professional standards and ensuring that the moral of the forces are kept high.

The Special Protection Group performs the sensitive and difficult task of ensuring the security of the highest leadership of the country. This naturally demands a very high degree of professionalism, commitment, skill and dedication.

I have been closely watching SPG officers performing their duties under all sorts of circumstances and at all odd hours. I commend their professional skills and dedication to duty. I am sure other SPG protectees endorse my views on the performance of the SPG.

Our VIP security system must be unobtrusive and interfere least with the normal activities of the people. I am happy that the Ministry of Home Affairs and the security forces have taken certain positive measures in this direction.

Personal protection should be provided on the basis of threat and there is perhaps a need to review the list of protected persons. The need for laying stress on quality of security personnel rather than a quantity requires appreciation and suitable measures should be initiated in this direction.

Implementation of such practical measures, I am sure will not only improve the effectiveness of the VIP security system, but also prove to be cost-effective in the country. The security environment is seriously affected by terrorism, insurgency, and activities of fundamentalist groups are making the task of the police force and security agencies extremely difficult. I compliment them for their good work and urge them to dedicate themselves for the good of the common man.

The recent earthquake in Gujarat has shown that the administration and security forces can sacrifice their welfare and safety for the sake of the people. My government is conscious of the difficulties being faced by the security agencies and will do its best to look after their welfare and improve their working conditions.

On the occasion of the SPG Raising Day, I wish all the members of the SPG every success in their endeavour.

And finally, I am happy to announce a grant of Rs. 10 lakh, for the SPG Welfare Fund.

Thank you".






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