Indian airport police are going to smile less

Airport police in India are being instructed to smile less.

This is over concerns cheerfulness could lead to a perception of lax security and a threat of terror attacks.

The country’s Central Industrial Security Force, which is in charge of aviation safety, wants its staff to be “more vigilant than friendly”.

They will move from a “broad smile system” to a “sufficient smile system”, the Indian Express says.

Officials are said to believe that excessive friendliness puts airports at risk of terrorist attacks.

The organisation’s director general, Rajesh Ranjan even said the 9/11 attacks had taken place because of “an excessive reliance on passenger-friendly features”.

Here is the full story, via Anecdotal.


That sounds dumb, though to be fair, American airport security seems to run on a similar philosophy.

It seems to me like it is better for security if the 99.99% of people who are not causing problems think the police officers are on their side. A disarming attitude will put innocent people at ease, while the guilty will still be nervous--making it easier to identify them. People will be more likely to report suspicious activity to friendly officers. Unfriendly officers may cause needless confrontations that distract from the real problems. etc.

Admittedly, I'm a complete non-expert just shooting from the hip (but hey, what are comments on the internet for?).

Indians love security theater. There are metal detectors in all sorts of places that you can just walk around.

I agree with dan1111 above.

However, I'd like to point out in southeast Asia (including India) the kids are trained to smile at all times, through adversity (common in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Burma). A while ago, in the "Golden Triangle" of Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, a film director was trying to film a sad documentary about a disaster there, but he found the people being filmed were always smiling, even happy. Finally he directed them to stop smiling. It's also said the Gurkha will smile just before they draw their knife to kill you. It's true: people in Asia are trained not to show emotions. When I lose my cool, even mildly, I am looked at my by Filipino gf like I just swore to the Pope. That's why PH President Duterte is so unusual: nobody acts like him, insulting people and calling them 'whore' and so on. Very unusual for an Asian, about as unusual as Trump's behavior is perhaps for an average American?!

Agree with Ray about the smiling. On a recent trip to Cambodia ( which has had so much tragedy in the past few decades) was amazed at the constant smile on most of those one saw.

As it is, an overly friendly airport security or immigration staff is annoying. I'd rather want them to do their job quickly and smoothly than ask me inane questions about life/education/work in the country I reside in.
I'm an Indian, living in Singapore.

I'm curious, what airports (or countries) did you get such questions in? It's quite contrary to my experience of almost 20 years flying.

I was talking about Indian airport staffs. Probably they do this to only Indians.

I wonder what airports they are talking about. I've hardly ever seen airport security officials smiling, even before 9/11. I've NEVER seen immigration or custom officials smiling, at Indians or foreigners (except on customs officials' faces at the end of a successful bribe negotiation.)

Quite true in India about security. May be customs too.
But generally have found immigration officials to be quite pleasant and friendly even at the 3 to 4 AM times that my flights always seem to land up at.
And Kris, in 20 years have you not seen dramatic changes at Indian airports : less harassment by Customs, smaller or no Forms to be filled up on arrival or departure ..... Yes, security checks are worse buts that the universal 9/11 effect.

N=1 here, so just an anecdote from me, but flying in and out of Delhi last year, I found security was not friendly at all. Certainly no smiles.

I'm Southern, which means I'm friendly, even (or is it especially?) with strangers. My Yankee girlfriend was aghast whenever I would initiate a conversation with a stranger. My former wife is so Southern she is sometimes asked what country she is from (the accent is only part of it). The way it works with a Southern woman when she meets someone new is to recite family members until the inevitable overlap is revealed and the two strangers are, at once, best friends. The striking thing about Southerners, especially those in South Carolina, is how many are related. They marry first cousins in South Carolina, which might explain all those relations (and odd behavior). But don't be beguiled by an overly friendly stranger from the South. Once the conversation has ended, the Southern woman will turn to her kind of people and make critical comments about her new best friend. It's like Trump and his "poorly educated" supporters: one can only imagine what Trump says about them once Trump returns to his kind of people.

I kept waiting for the part where your story had something to do with the post.

I guess I should have expected this, though, since you are Southern.

That's pretty funny. In the places I've lived, the median of the spectrum in re to the behavior of service personnel is set at 'curt' and 'icy' among Indian immigrants.

They were being respectful. Well some were probably just assholes but mostly it is viewed as being disrespectful to be overly familiar with a customer or superior. Also growing up I was told that if you smile too much people will think you are mentally retarded.

So I found this story quite perplexing. An impromtu survey of people around found no one who could recall an airport security or customs officer smiling at them. I will however agree with anonymous above that in recent years they’ve become more efficient and businesslike. (Not to mention less corrupt.). That’s good enough for me.

They hate us for our friendliness.

One of the few countries more serious about airport security than the USA. I am told that fans of airport security make pilgrimages to Srinagar's airport, the most secure airport in the world!

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