India may deploy CRPF for security of embassy in Iraq

In a first, the government is preparing to deploy commandos of central paramilitary force – CRPF – at the Indian embassy in war-ravaged Iraq, which is under threat from Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other terror groups. A contingent of 45 highly trained men, led by a deputy commandant rank officer, will be initially posted to secure the embassy and diplomats in Baghdad and, if required, more personnel will be sent later.

The Indian embassy last faced a missile attack in 2004 but sources said lately RAW and other central intelligence agencies have warned of possible terror attacks. An in-principle approval for the deployment of an armed squad at the complex located in the Al Mansour area of the Iraqi capital has already been accorded by the home ministry, sources said.

The CRPF commandos will have a specific task of securing the embassy, its diplomatic staff and their families against terror threats. “Given the constant threat of the IS terror group in Iraq, it was being discussed for a long time that the Indian embassy there should have a professional security cover,” an official said. “The effort to send the paramilitary commandos is a move in that direction. A final decision will be taken soon,” the official said. CRPF’s elite CoBRA squad, known for their operations against Maoists, will be part of the proposed contingent, an official said.