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More sky marshals after Uri attack

| SRIDHAR KUMARASWAMI
Published : Oct 27, 2016, 3:13 am IST
Updated : Oct 27, 2016, 3:13 am IST

India has significantly scaled up the presence of sky marshals on domestic and international flights of Indian carriers following the Uri terror attack and tensions on the border with Pakistan, taking

India has significantly scaled up the presence of sky marshals on domestic and international flights of Indian carriers following the Uri terror attack and tensions on the border with Pakistan, taking into account the threat perception from Pakistan-based terror groups, sources have said. Sources said that till now, domestic flights and flights to a few destinations in India’s neighbourhood such as the Nepalese capital Kathmandu and the Afghan capital Kabul were the focus of security and deployment of sky marshals but now the focus is equally on international flights as well. “More international routes have also been included now for deployment of sky marshals. There is a significant scaling-up after the Uri attacks,” sources said. Sky marshals are discretely-seated security personnel with weapons on board aircraft to prevent hijacks. The aviation security establishment in the country is on maximum alert after Intelligence inputs that Pakistan-based terror groups may try to retaliate in the wake of surgical strikes carried out by India on terror launch pads in PoK after the Uri terror attack.

So much so that the security agencies are looking beyond just security measures at airports and are also looking at areas near airports. Airport perimeter security is being closely examined, sources said. Ladder-point checks wherein passengers are again frisked on the tarmac or on the aerobridge before boarding the aircraft are also being implemented as per the threat perception on specific flights.

Airports in the country are also expected in due course to witness installation of non-intrusive body-scanners, with such non-intrusive body-scanners already functioning at the New Delhi IGI airport as part of a pilot project, sources said. The images generated by the scanners are in the form of “caricatures” that does not differentiate between men and women so that women-passengers do not feel uncomfortable, sources said.

The aviation security scenario in India has not witnessed any hiccups after the 1999 hijack of an aircraft of the erstwhile Indian Airlines that was hijacked from the Nepalese capital Kathmandu and flown to Kandahar during the Pakistan-backed Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi