Cut smiles, stay alert, India's airport police told

The Central Industrial Security Force, in charge of aviation safety, will move from a "broad smile system" to a "sufficient smile system".
The Central Industrial Security Force, in charge of aviation safety, will move from a "broad smile system" to a "sufficient smile system".PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI • Armed police at Indian airports have been told to cut down on smiling, with officials blaming the 2001 United States terror attacks partly on an excessive focus on friendliness, local media reported yesterday.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), in charge of aviation safety, will move from a "broad smile system" to a "sufficient smile system", the Indian Express said in a front-page report.

The English language newspaper said the move was aimed at making the CISF "more vigilant than friendly".

"We cannot be over-friendly with the passengers because one of the reasons cited as to why 9/11 happened... was excessive reliance on passenger-friendly features," CISF director general Rajesh Ranjan was quoted as saying.

Mr Ranjan also said CISF personnel would be trained in behavioural analysis by international consultants.

India has witnessed a sixfold increase in passenger numbers over the past decade as citizens take advantage of better connectivity and cheaper fares in the highly competitive sector.

But airports are struggling to cope with the surge and analysts have warned that the government needs to spend billions of dollars to boost capacity and safety.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2018, with the headline 'Cut smiles, stay alert, India's airport police told'. Print Edition | Subscribe