... So that You may be kept informed

ASIA: Indian airports on alert, warnings of airborne attacks

04 Dec 2008 6:52 PM

NEW DELHI, Dec 4 AFP - India has put all of its major airports on high alert following warnings of possible attacks using hijacked airlines, officials said.

The alert was sounded on Thursday after Defence Minister AK Antony ordered the armed forces to be on guard against "any terror strikes from the air", officials said.

"This is based on a warning which has been received by the government and we are prepared as usual," Air Chief Marshal Fali Major told reporters.

Government sources said all major airports - including New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata - were on high alert.

The sources cited intelligence "inputs" that militants may have sneaked into India to try to hijack civilian aircraft.

The alert comes the week after Islamist militants, whom India says were from Pakistan, launched a co-ordinated attack against India's economic capital Mumbai which left nearly 200 dead.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which is in overall charge of airport safety, said additional paramilitary troops had been deployed to guard six of the country's busiest international airports.

Indian Air Force sources said fighter jets had also been put on stand-by.

"We are now on a high state of alert," Arun Arora, spokesman of New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport told Agence France-Presse.