NEW DELHI - Security personnel across India have been put on alert Tuesday on fears that women suicide bombers may carry explosives in the form of breast implants.
They could target airports or flights, officials at the Central Internal Security Force, which operates security in and around airports, confirmed.
Specific instructions have been placed for women friskers to do full-body scans and even ask women travelers to remove their clothes in cases of doubt.
The directive comes after Britain's Heathrow Airport was recently put on high alert on similar fears.
CISF Special Director General (Airports Security) Rajiva Ranjan Verma said the force has been in touch with international agencies to gauge the seriousness of threats from breast implants.
He added the greatest concern is respecting the privacy of passengers.
"Threats are always there, and we are always on alert. Holding regular security drills is a continuous process at all the 59 airports across the country. And, we make sure that frisking is done with utmost care, respect, courtesy and happiness of the travelers," Verma said.
"We have to be dynamic and updated with the latest techniques and security paraphernalia. We have been told that explosives inside breast implants could be in the form of gel. Though it's difficult to detect such explosives (which do not have a metal component), we are devising ways to address this threat," he said.
Asked if women from any particular group would be particularly watched, Verma said, "absolutely not. Terrorism is terrorism. It has no community, caste or creed. We frisk each traveler, and in case of any doubts we carry out close-body frisking. Sometimes we even ask travelers to remove their shoes or clothing too, irrespective of sex."
According to official sources, there are around 25,000 CISF security personnel providing security in and around Indian airports.
Nearly 1,000 personnel cover all hours of the day at Delhi's Indira Gandhi Airport.
There are also intelligence personnel and local police who work in close cooperation to ensure security in and around the airport.
Threats in the form of breast implants were highlighted when a section of British media recently reported al-Qaida bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri had developed a way of injecting explosive material into the human body as breast implants.