Almost two weeks after the Karachi airport attack left 29 dead in a 13-hour-long siege, the Delhi airport police, along with the South and South-west district police, have sent a proposal for deploying snipers in the funnel area of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) at Vasant Kunj and Dwarka. The proposal comes after an internal meeting between officials of various agencies, including the IB, RAW and the Delhi Police, was held to discuss the security arrangements in place at IGIA.
Sources told Newsline that the meeting was held to create a comprehensive security plan for the airport, specifically identifying the areas where aircraft are visible from areas facing the runway. Officials of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) were also present at the meeting and it was concluded that the two funnel areas — Vasant Kunj and Dwarka — are within a direct threat from a terror attack.
The proposal has been sent to the Delhi Police Headquarters, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
A senior official part of the meeting said, “The area will now be manned by snipers and, if need be, they will be placed at rooftops of certain buildings if the areas are within visible range of aircraft. This is probably the first time such a security arrangement has been planned for an airport, but we cannot take any chances.”
The official said that a tenant verification will be carried out in the areas and those who have bought houses recently will be verified. Even hotels at the Aerocity have been informed of the security arrangement and have been directed to verify their employees thoroughly; a list of which will be submitted to the concerned agencies.
Last year, a committee of officials comprising those from the Delhi Police, CISF, BCAS and IB had paid a visit to San Diego and Amsterdam to carry out a comparative analysis of IGIA and the two airports.
After reviewing the security apparatus, the committee in its set of recommendations had stated that the funnel area also had a threat from ‘man-made portable air defense systems’ (MANPADS).
An airport official said “Areas such as Dwarka and Kapashera are in direct line of sight of the runway, especially at the funnel area. The areas are exposed and need a proper plan in place. Although the funnel area has security arrangements in place, like regular patrolling and staff deployment, additional security is a must” said the official.