Sky marshals, deployed on civilian aircraft to counter hijack or hostage situations, have been armed with modern 'dum dum' bullets that burst inside the body of an attacker instead of passing through and hitting any passenger or puncturing the plane's body.
The bullets, whose peculiar name originated from the first such ammunition developed by the British near the 'Dum Dum' military base in Kolkata in pre-independent India, are authorised to be fired only by special forces commandos the world over to avoid collateral damage in such an operation.
This type of ammunition is prohibited for any other use under an international convention.
The country's specialised counter-terror and counter-hijack commando force, the NSG, has decided to include this ammunition in its armoury following 2008 Mumbai terror attacks where it had to undertake close-quarter combat in populated areas like 5-star hotels.
Sources said these bullets, which are being imported, are made to disintegrate inside the body of the attacker and result in either killing or severely immobilising him.
"The bullets have been imported from a friendly country," the sources said without disclosing the name of the country citing security reasons.
The National Security Guard deploys a specific number of sky marshals on-board aircraft flying on select routes and is the federal contingency response force for any terrorist or hostage like crisis.
The 'black cat' commandos are now equipped to use these bullets both for counter-hijack and counter-terror operations and their standard weapons like MP5 assault rifles and Glock pistols are compatible with it.
Experts said these bullets prevent collateral damage as unlike normal bullet, they do not escape out of the attacker's body or punch a hole in an airborne aircraft which can cause a disaster.
"A sky marshal or a commando is trained to be a sharp marksman. Despite his hitting the terrorist accurately, there is a fear that a civilian present next to him may get hit or the aeroplane suffers damage.
"The special bullets give the commandos an edge and confidence to operate better," Special Forces experts said.