Stresses on ‘perspective planning’ to thwart threats to aviation industry.
New Delhi: Remembering the 2009 underwear bomber, who attempted to blow up a Amsterdam-Detroit flight mid-air, Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said “terrorists are pushing their limits and underpants to attack global civil aviation operations”.
Inaugurating a two-day seminar on “international aviation security” here, Mr Singh said closer to home, ensuring security of about 40 small airports and heliports in India is a subject that cannot be ignored. “The civil aviation sector is highly sensitive and high profile in nature. It also gets worldwide attention when hit by any attack. Often these incidents have geopolitical ramifications”.
The case of the shoe bomber in 2001, the use of liquid explosives in London in 2006 and the case of the underwear bomber in Amsterdam in 2009 clearly indicate that terrorists are pushing the limits and even their underpants to hit the aviation sector, said the home minister.
On Christmas Day in 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a commercial plane for the Al Qaeda, but was badly burned when a bomb sewn into his underwear failed to detonate fully on-board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Farouk earned the nicknames of underwear bomber and Christmas Day bomber.
The home minister also asked aviation security agencies in the country to undertake “perspective planning” to thwart possible terror-like threats to aviation facilities. Security agencies such as the CISF should undertake “untiring and sincere efforts to maintain fool-proof security” at airports, which are thronged by lakhs of travellers daily, he said.
The seminar is being organised by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), a federal force that guards 60 civil airports at present. It is being attended by delegates from 18 countries and several airlines.
Civil aviation security continues to be an extremely challenging task as the sector remains an important target for terror outfits. Terrorists always look for opportunities to draw maximum attention and media coverage, he said. “There are 40 other operational airports and heliports under the regional connectivity scheme in India, which are guarded by airport security units carved out from the respective state police forces. The strength of any claim is determined by the strength of its smallest unit, therefore the security of the smaller airports should never be ignored,” Mr Singh said.