Hyderabad: Even as Jammu and Kashmir is on the edge following the massive troop build-up and terror threat looming large, the Centre has simultaneously upped the preparedness of security personnel across airports by providing them bulletproof vehicles, the latest bulletproof jackets and bullet-resistant helmets.
The move assumes significance coming as it comes ahead of Independence Day on August 15.
Sources in the Union ministry of home affairs told Deccan Chronicle that close to 100 latest BP jackets, an equal number of bullet-resistant helmets and dozens of new BP vehicles have been provided in the last few days to security personnel guarding the airports. The task of securing the airports is with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), whose Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) are posted at all the airports.
“Airports are constantly under threat and we keep reviewing it and accordingly upgrade the equipment with the security personnel. The BP vehicles, jackets and helmets are for the QRTs,” a senior official said adding while trying to downplay a query on whether this upgradation and troop build-up in Jammu and Kashmir had anything in common.
The official said that the new Mahindra Marksman Armoured Personnel Carrier was initially deployed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi last year. Over the last month, QRTs at all private airports have been provided with these vehicles.
“This BP vehicle provides protection against small arms fire and grenade attacks. It has a cupola machine gun mount with 270-degree traverse and protection. It has five side armouring of the passenger compartment,” he said adding that it also has a floor blast protection and ballistic steel interior frames.
Sources said that the old and worn out BP jackets have been replaced with the latest versions while new bullet resistant helmets have been provided for the QRTs. They said that after BJP national president Amit Shah took over as Union home minister, purchase of gadgets and equipment for the central paramilitary forces like CRPF, BSF, CISF and ITBP has been put on the fast track. Besides, special forces like NSG is being equipped with the latest gadgets.
A proposal to arm the CISF QRTs with the MP5 submachine guns is in the pipeline, sources said.