Biometric a must for foreigners, to kick off with Pak cricket fans
India will start creating a biometric database of visiting foreigners, beginning with Pakistani spectators crossing the border for the Indo-Pakistan cricket series, reports Aloke Tikku.delhi Updated: Dec 26, 2012 02:24 IST
India will start creating a biometric database of visiting foreigners, beginning with Pakistani spectators crossing the border for the Indo-Pakistan cricket series.
Once launched, the home ministry will make it mandatory for visa applicants from the United States and United Kingdom as well to provide their 10 fingerprints.
"We are going to start the biometric collection at the time of granting visas over the next few days," a senior home ministry official.
The USA and United Kingdom were selected because they account for the largest number of foreign visitors to India; 1.8 million out of the total 6.3 million foreign tourist arrivals.
Visitors from Pakistan, on the other hand, figure high on the watch list of India's security agencies due to fears that terrorists and other undesirable elements could slip into the country.
About 1,200 Pakistanis who came on valid documents over the past few years have disappeared. Another dozen, who entered India to watch cricket matches in November-December 2007 are also missing.
The biometric enrolment - part of a Rs.1,000-crore project to put the paper-based visa and immigration system online - would be tweaked on the basis of the lessons learnt in the first phase that would only cover the three countries.
The mandatory biometric rule for foreigners will be expanded to other countries by 2014.
Once fully-operational, this database will be part of the National Intelligence Grid database that will allow security agencies to generate software-aided passenger profiles to identify "risky travellers".