It is scary to be told that most of India’s airports are sitting ducks. In fact, according to a parliamentary committee report, only two airports, New Delhi and Mumbai, have all the security systems in place to meet all kinds of threats. 96 out of the total 98 functional airports have one or the other security deficiency that can prove costly. The situation in the case of 26 airports classified as hyper-sensitive is not any different. Out of them, only 18 have full deployment of CISF personnel. Over the decades, the CISF has emerged as the only paramilitary force, adequately trained and equipped to take care of aviation security.
The report in question lists many holes in the security system, affirming what an Express survey had found earlier. For instance, many airports do not even have equipment like body scanners, CCTV cameras and hand-held body checkers. Most of the airports do not also have equipment and personnel to check all the vehicles which are allowed inside the airport area. It is a pity that a country of 1.25 billion people with aspirations to become the third largest economy in a few years does not have adequate CISF personnel to man all the airports. If the government has the determination, it can solve these problems in a matter of months. The recent terror attacks at the Brussels and Istanbul airports show that airports have become the favourite targets of terrorists. This is because of many reasons. Airport attacks ensure greater media coverage across the world and, therefore, cause greater scare among the people. They also disrupt global traffic and dent the image of the targeted nation.
There is no reason to believe that Indian airports are beyond the reach of the terrorist radars. This is all the more reason that every airport in India should be provided with fool-proof security. The report calls for an urgent review of India’s aviation security policy and equally urgent remedial action. Security is far more important than money.