Govt efforts to tackle menace
After the hijacking of Indian plane on a flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi with about 160 passengers India and Nepal have agreed to introduce a system by which travellers between the two countries by air will have to show their identification.
Travellers between the two countries will have to show passports, citizenship certificate or voter identity cards. However, no entry tariff will be imposed on the passports.
A number of measures have been taken which inter-alia include the deployment of Quick Reaction Teams, joint inspection of major/hyper sensitive airports, improvement in physical infrastructure like lighting, fencing, walls etc., enforcement of access control system and increased patrolling both within and outside the airport area particularly during the night time.
Assigning the security of major airports of India to the Central Industrial Security force is also a step in that direction.
Sky Marshals: Sky Marshals have been deployed on domestic routes. The deployment of sky marshals on international routes is now under active consideration by the Government of India. The government wanted to execute this even earlier but the international civil aviation body did not approve of it, hence sky marshals could not be stationed on international routes. But after September 11, the international body is also inclined to induct sky marshals for the safety of passengers.
The sky marshals are Black Cat commandos from the elite National Security Guard. They enter the plane incognito. The entry is directly cleared by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.
The number of sky marshals in a plane depends on its size. For example: in Boeing 747, there will be seven or a more air marshals; in a Boeing 727 or the Airbus, there will be three or more.
The sky marshals are frisked like all the other passengers and are treated no differently, in order to conceal their identity. Their presence in the plane is confirmed just four minutes before the take-off. Only the commander of the flight is informed of their presence.
They are armed and trained to kill hijackers on board without harming passengers.
Ministry of Civil Aviation is already in the process of implementing a series of additional security measures like the following:
‹‹ Review of number of Photo Identity Cards (PIC) issued and reduction in the existing PICs to the minimum operational requirement;
‹‹ In new X-ray machines, Threat Images Projection System (TIPS) has been made mandatory to monitor the performance of the X-Ray Baggage Inspection System (BIS) operators;
‹‹ 164 new X-Ray (BIS) machines, 222 Multi zone DFMDS and 677 HHMDs (Portable metal detectors) are being procured.