Home Contact Us
Search :
   

Terrorism - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#2765, 25 December 2008
 
Aerial Security Against Terror Attacks
M Shamsur Rabb Khan
Freelancer
e-mail: samsur.khan@gmail.com
 

In the wake of devastating terror attacks on Mumbai last month, Defence Minister A K Antony warned the armed forces of possible terror attacks from airborne platforms, similar to the 9/11 attacks in the US. At a meeting with the three Services Chiefs on 2 December 2008, Antony called for greater coordination between all security and intelligence agencies, so as to make the intelligence inputs actionable. Given the kind of novel mechanisms and strategies that terrorist organizations have devised to attack India in recent years, there is an urgent need to renew India's focus on aerial security. However, amidst growing dangers of aerial terror attacks, holes in the state's aerial security mechanism are palpably obvious.

In October 2008, the Comptroller and Auditor General's report revealed serious lapses in the air defense network, because of inadequate and outdated radar surveillance systems operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The report pointed out that the Defence Ministry could not ensure the timely acquisition of three additional high power static radars to provide effective air surveillance over certain sensitive areas. It also revealed that India faces a 47 per cent shortage of radars needed to detect aircraft.

The shortage of radars is a serious shortcoming in view of the significant changes in the security scenario, especially the growing magnitude of potential aerial threats, in terms of sophistication and capability. Depending on ageing MiG-21s for aerial combat, the air force lacks the teeth to mount an adequate air defense for the country. The CAG report is critical of the fact that India's air defense system is based on a model formulated in 1976, which needs an urgent re-look. Even the missile firing capabilities, the report says, are not up to the mark and that the 'watch hours' prescribed by the Government to maintain external surveillance are not being met by the IAF.

Since air defense is critical to India's security, the country is in urgent need of an adequate number of surveillance radars for providing efficient and reliable detection capabilities in the sky. Significantly, an in-depth analysis of India's Air Defence Ground Environment System (ADGES) also shows that the number and type of radars in possession of the IAF is not good enough to cover the entire country. Hence, it has highlighted the need for an immediate upgradation of ADGES, an integrated network of surveillance radars, air defense control centers, and anti- aircraft guns for air and missile bases tasked with the protection of India's vast airspace.

The main objective of aerial security is to safeguard the Indian skies against all types of air attacks, and which includes security at airports to prevent terrorist from hijacking a plane. With terrorists trying novel tricks for executing terror attacks, anti-terror measures need to be focused on a much wider scale. Airport security provides a first line of defence, by attempting to stop the probable terrorists from bringing weapons or explosives into the airport. Monte R Belger of the US Federal Aviation Administration notes, "The goal of aviation security is to prevent harm to aircraft, passengers, and crew, as well as support national security and counter-terrorism policy". Airport security mechanisms must be quick, efficient, and effective, especially given the rise in the number of travellers. For aerial security in India, safeguarding of airports is one major area of focus, since terrorist threats and narcotics are the main threats in Indian airports. Another problem that some airports face is the proliferation of slums around the airport boundaries, such as in Mumbai.

India stepped up its airport security after the 1999 Kandahar hijacking, by deploying the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to form an Airport Security Group, to protect Indian airports. Since then, every airport has been given an Airport Security Unit (APSU), a trained unit to counter unlawful interference with civil aviation. In addition to the CISF, every airline has an aviation security force as a separate department. Israel is a good example as far as implementation of airport and aerial security is concerned - it is widely agreed that El Al is the safest airline in the world, as there has not been a hijacking of an El Al plane since 23 July 1969, and no plane departing from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv has ever been hijacked. At a conference in May 2008, US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff pointed out that the US will seek to adopt some of the Israeli security measures at its domestic airports. India can seek help from Israeli's who are touted as being "are legendary for their security"

In February 2005, civil aviation minister Praful Patel said that security provided by the CISF to 47 Indian airports is even better than the security at US airports and was "more professional and yet personalised." However, since terrorists may infiltrate India through all possible routes, the sky is the one that merits constant surveillance, as an aerial bombing on vital installations, including nuclear ones, would be devastating, and they are exposed to a serious damaging vulnerability. It is high time the government gave top priority to aerial security.


Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Pakistan: Crouching Democrats, Hidden Khakis
Mullah Fazlullah: Challenges to the ?Eliminate or Extradite? Approach
Taliban after Afghan Elections: Spring Offensive or the Last Stand?
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Of Inquilab and the Inquilabis
Pakistan: Of Messiahs and Marches
Zarb-e-Azb: The Decisive Strike

Dateline Kabul
Mariam Safi
Can Afghanistan Become a "Perfect Place?"
Afghanistan: Political Crises After the Presidential Run-off
Taliban?s Spring Offensive: Are the ANSF Prepared?
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
Abe?s Successful Visit to Dhaka: Two Political Challenges
Girl Summit Diplomacy and Bangladesh-UK Relations
India-Bangladesh: After Sushma Swaraj's Visit

Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
Changing Global Balance of Power: Obama?s Response
Obama Administration: Re-engaging India
US in South Asia: Declining Influence
East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India in East Asia: Modi?s Three Summit Meets
Modi's Visit to Japan: Gauging Inter-State Relations in Asia
North Korea: Seeking New Friends?

Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
China in Nepal: Increasing Connectivity Via Railways
India-Nepal Hydroelectricity Deal: Making it Count
Federalism and Nepal: Internal Differences
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Maritime Terrorism: Karachi as a Staging Point
Maritime Silk Road: Can India Leverage It?
BRICS: The Oceanic Connections

Middle Kingdom
DS Rajan
China in the Indian Ocean: Competing Priorities
China-Japan Friction: How can India Respond?
Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Musings on the Bomb
The Second Nuclear Age in the Asia Pacific

Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Six Thousand Plus Killed: The Naxal Ideology of Violence
Anti-Naxal Operations: Seeking Refuge in Symbolism
A 'New' Counter-Naxal Action Plan
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Obama?s New Strategy towards the Islamic State: Implications for India
Modi?s Tryst with Abe
Thinking the Unthinkable: Promoting Nuclear Disarmament

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
War against the Islamic State: Political and Military Responses from the Region
The Islamic State: No Country for the Old World Order
India and the Conflict in Gaza
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
Uranium and Nuclear Power: Three Indian Stories
A Strategic Review for India
Indian Ratification of the Additional Protocol: Mischievous Reports Miss its Significance

The Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability
The Indo Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
Myanmar's Political Transition: Challenges of the 2015 Election
South China Sea: Intransigence Over Troubled Waters
Indonesia: 2014 Presidential Election Explained

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
The Islamic State Caliphate: A Mirage of Resurrection
A Covenant Sans Sword
Strife on the Global Commons
Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Stronger Democratic Values for a Better Tomorrow
Sri Lanka and China: Towards Innovation Driven Economies
India-Sri Lanka: Strengthening Regional Cooperation
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
Pakistan: Why is Army against Nawaz Sharif?
Pakistan: Degraded Democracy
Domestic Politicking in Pakistan: It's Not Cricket, Stupid!
Voice from America
Amit Gupta
Modi?s US Visit: So Much Promise, Such Little Outcome
India and Australia: Beyond Curry, Cricket, and Commonwealth
And Then There is the Middle East: The Lack of an End-Game

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
The Killing of Shahzad: Links between the al Qaeda and the Pakistan Navy in the Open?

India's Contentious 50 Most Wanted Terrorists List

WikiWrecks: 26/11 and US Intent

Sino-Pak N-deal: a Setback to India-China Ties?

Two Summits; Conflicting Messages

David Headley’s Plea Bargain and India-US Relations

Tackling Maoist Terror

The Strategic Significance of Arihant

Enhancing the Credibility of CRPF

Role of Private Sector in Preventing Terror Attacks

Change Has Come to J&K

Hindu Terror: A More Serious Threat

Tackling Terror: Reforms, Not Stringent Laws, Necessary

NSG Waiver: What does it mean for India?

Will the Nuclear Deal Hurt India's Foreign Policy?

Elections in the Himalayan Kingdom: New Dawn of India-Bhutan Relations

Sagarika: A Feather in India's Defense Hat

Securing India's Coastline

Time to Revive India-Iran Relations

Indo-Israel Defence Cooperation: A Step in the Right Direction

Poor Policing and Weak Intelligence Gathering

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2014
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October
 2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006
 2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998
 1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.
Tel: 91-11-4100 1900, 4165 2556, 4165 2557, 4165 2558, 4165 2559 Fax: (91-11) 41652560
Email:
© Copyright 2014, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com