Dog breed that sniffed Osama to help Indian forces

New Delhi: Cousins of the special breed canines, which assisted the elite US Navy SEALs in sniffing out Osama bin Laden from his safe haven in Pakistan, will now help Indian security forces in `find and fix` anti-Naxal operations in dense forests and difficult terrains.

The imported dogs, a specialised breed of the Belgian shepherds, also called `Malinois`, are reported to be the ones which assisted the special US assault team during the operation in the garrison town of Abbottabad where the special forces lowered themselves from helicopters to storm the al Qaeda leader`s lair.

"This is the first time that police and Central security forces will be using canines in operations in the Naxal hotbeds of the country – a practice in line with the Israeli and NATO forces operating in Afghanistan and other places. They find the target, which can either be a suspect human or landmine, and alert their handlers thereby fixing the unwanted element," a senior security officer involved in the training of these sniffers said.

The breed that is being trained for the Indian security forces is a litter of an Israeli male Malinois crossed with an American bitch.

These guard dogs will accompany police and CRPF patrols in the Maoist-affected areas where previous patrols have been caught off guard and have suffered casualties because of hidden landmines and surprise ambushes of the Naxal cadres.

The first batch of about seven dogs, imported last year, have been trained by the specialised trainers of the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in the rough terrains of the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border.

The ITBP has a world-class facility near Chandigarh for training dogs for Central security forces and police.