Two Army “brave-hearts”, Sophie (a golden-brown Cocker Spaniel) and Vida (a black Labrador), received the ‘Chief of Army Staff Commendation Cards’ this Independence Day because they had performed their duties diligently while protecting their country, said the PM.
“Our armed forces and security forces have many such brave dogs who not only live for the country but also sacrifice themselves for the country. Such canines have played a very important role in thwarting numerous bomb blasts and terrorist conspiracies,” he said.
Army officers said Vida was instrumental in the detection of five mines and a grenade buried underground, which prevented casualties among soldiers in Kashmir. Sophie of the Special Frontier Force (bomb disposal squad), in turn, sniffed out an “initiator or accelerant” that could have been used to fabricate an IED in Delhi.
The PM also mentioned Balram, a dog who uncovered ammunition on the Amarnath Yatra route in 2006, and Bhawna, who detected an IED but was killed along with her handler when it exploded while being defused in 2002.
“Two or three years ago in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, a sniffer dog Cracker (a Belgian Malinois) of CRPF also attained martyrdom in an IED blast. You might have also seen a very moving scene on TV a few days ago, in which the Beed Police were giving their canine colleague Rocky a final farewell. Rocky had helped the police in solving over 300 cases,” said Modi.
CRPF officials told TOI that Cracker was a highly skilled sniffer and had detected several IEDs in Bastar on April 7, 2017.
Just since July last year, Army dogs have detected 30 IEDs and other arms and ammunition as well as led to the elimination of five terrorists.
The PM said “fabulous” indigenous breeds such as Mudhol Hound, Himachali Hound, Rajapalayam, Kanni, Chippiparai and Kombai were capable, cheaper to raise and better adapted to the Indian environmental conditions.
“Our security agencies are also inducting these Indian breed dogs…The next time you think of raising a pet dog, consider bringing home one of these Indian breeds. At a time when `Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is becoming a mantra of the people, how can any domain be left untouched by its influence?” he said.
Chhattisgarh’s Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College (CTJWC) in Bastar has also picked up four street dogs and put them through a nine-month course to sniff out explosives up to 12 inches below the surface. Four trained mongrels were deployed during the April 2009 Lok Sabha elections in Maoist strongholds.