India prepares for bioattacks at 2010 Commonwealth Games

Almost eight battalions of India’s National Disaster Response Force have readied themselves with prophylaxis for anthrax and nerve gas antidotes in preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games that will take place in New Delhi.

Nearly 71 nations are expected to take part in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 8,000 personnel from the eight battalions will be at all stadiums to fight any eventuality created by terrorists looking to cause panic or create terror.

“The profile of terrorists is changing. Gone are the days when only uneducated unemployed youth got into terrorism,” Alok Awasthi, Commandant of NDRF, told Mid Day. “Now well educated and techno-savvy youth are getting indoctrinated and hence we have to be ready to understand their mindset. Hence we have been asked to be on alert during the Commonwealth Games.”

The NRDF’s main areas of concentration during the games will be the possibility of bioterrorism, especially through anthrax attacks or chemical warfare agents such as nerve gas, mustard, phosgene, hydrogen cyanide and cyanogen chloride.

To combat the potential attacks, the NDRF will be equipped with Residual Vapour Detectors, Chemical Agent Monitors, Water Poisoning Detector kits and three color detector papers. Devices for decontamination from the agents will also be available.

“We will be carrying out mock drills in the venue of Commonwealth Games from January to create awareness among the people and also to test our teams,” Awasthi said.

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