Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba has acquired over 50 para-gliding equipment from Europe, which could be used to launch a suicide attack from a hillock, moving vehicles or high-speed boats.
This intelligence input has set off alarm bells ringing in the security apparatus in the country as this innocuous sporting gear could become a lethal weapon in the hands of banned LeT which carried out the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
The input which came barely days ahead of Republic Day celebrations has prompted authorities to ensure a tight air security around all vital installations, official sources said here on Friday.
The input about movement of overground workers, owing allegiance to LeT, in Europe led the sleuths to find out that they were on a shopping spree for para-gliding equipment, the sources said.
The para-glider, a specially designed parachute attached to the body of a person which creates a lift if posed against air from opposite direction, could be launched from an elevated surface like a hillock or sky-scrapper.
The para-glider can also be flown using a four-wheeler or a high-speed boat.
"We have increased the surveillance besides mobilising the security agencies to stop any such attempt by terrorists," a source said.
The input bears significance in view of the fact that government has already put all Air India planes operating in the country's neighbourhood on high security alert following intelligence reports from Western agencies that the LeT and other terror groups were planning to hijack a flight.
Security agencies have carried out mock drills in different areas in the country as part of the exercise to prevent any air-borne suicide attack by LeT terrorists.
Radars located at strategic locations have been tuned to intercept all low flying objects and authorities are not taking any chances, sources said.
A no-flying zone is already in place in capital's Luytens zone which houses the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister's Office and key ministries like Home, Defence, Finance, External Affairs, among others.
Ahead of the Republic Day, elaborate air defence measures, including deployment of anti-aircraft guns, have also been taken to check possible intrusion of air space.
Besides, helicopters of the Indian Air Force will hover over the areas around Rajpath and all along the route of the Republic Day parade.
Earlier, intelligence reports suggested that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence had directed the militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir to use explosive-laden 'Toy Planes' to hit VIPs in the state and the national capital.