New Delhi: This Independence Day,terror threat is airborne. Small drones, paragliding equipment, and Chinese lanterns might be the choice of weapon for terror outfits this year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has stated ahead of the 71th Independence Day celebrations.
In a top-secret note to the security establishments, the MHA has admitted that terrorists now have new modes of targeting sensitive sites, in view of which, the dynamics of security preparations may have to be changed.
Intelligence agencies have reported that some Pakistan-based terror outfits are using drones, modified by mounting a circuit to release explosives through a small 10-volt battery, to launch attacks.“It has been suggested that suitable countermeasures be taken against aerial attacks through paragliders, paramotors, micro-light aircraft, hang-gliders, remote-controlled modules, etc, by keeping a watch over possible launch or take-off sites,” the note stated.
As per the detailed anti-terror directions, accessed by DNA, the intelligence personnel have trained 200 police personnel regarding the various kinds of explosives that can be used by terrorists. Apart from issuing “instructions for precaution to avert air threat” to Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi, the ministry has also directed the Ministry of Defence to carry out “helicopter surveillance of the Prime Minister’s route”.
The officials of the Home Ministry, Defence Ministry, and security and intelligence agencies had met on August 1 to discuss the positioning of Air Defence guns and medium machine guns. It was also decided that “prior verification of antecedents of the contingent members lined up ceremonially on the straightway leading to ramparts” has to been done.The MHA has also directed the security forces to straightaway shoot down any aeromodels spotted. The ministry stated that as soon as the rooftop watchers see any flying object, such as aeromodels, paragliders, paramotors, hang gliders or micro light aircrafts, they need to inform the C4i, and action will be taken by minimum use of force, so as to ensure negligible collateral damage. “If the enemy does not respond to the instructions of the police officers and continues to fly, and in the opinion of the police officer or National Security Guard (NSG) sniper may pose a threat to the safety of public life and property, and if there is no time to seek instructions from superiors or seek clarification from the Indian Air Force, the personnel may use minimum force as per requirement. If it is an aeromodel, there is no need to give warning before proceeding with counter action,” the ministry stated.
To spot flying objects, the ministry has ordered the Ministry of Defence to keep the radar surveillance at low, medium, and high levels, simultaneously. The Defence Ministry has also set up an Air Defence Direction Centre at the ramparts of the Red Fort, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unfurl the National Flag.The MHA has further issued directions for air space closure, and shutting down of the Safdarjung Airport and all the airstrips in 300 km periphery.
“All abandoned, unused airstrips, sites or open grounds or spaces in Delhi and neighbouring states, which may allow lift-off or launch of remotely piloted vehicles, including remote-controlled aircraft and paragliders and hand-gliders, should be secured and put under effective surveillance,” the ministry stated.