Regional Aviation Security Conference Inaugurated in India Today

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  1. ejazr

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    Regional Aviation Security Conference Inaugurated Today

    The Regional Aviation Security Conference(RAVSECC) was inaugurated by the Minister for Civil Aviation Shri Vayalar Ravi here today. The Secretary General of ICAO, the Administrator TSA and the Civil Aviation Secretary were also present on the occasion.

    The objective of the Conference is to endorse the declaration on security adopted in the 37th International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) Assembly and also to review the developments taking place in the field of aviation security in the countries of this region. The Conference is being organised by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India.

    The Indian aviation security systems were reviewed at the highest level and were found to be well-defined and complete. The legislative framework is being strengthened by adopting new Aviation Security Rules. The Indian Government has taken up the process of restructuring of BCAS to enhance the oversight capability and also to strengthen all aspects of BCAS. International Security consultants from ICAO have been engaged to study the Indian Aviation Security System for making further improvements to the aviation security in general and restructuring of the BCAS in particular.

    Airport security is being reviewed in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs and other Intelligence Agencies and various proposals to improve the security are under active consideration. Anti-hijacking Amendment Bill prescribing death penalty, in place of life imprisonment, for the offence of aircraft hijacking has already been introduced in the Parliament. Passenger facilitation is also being given equal importance in the process of beefing up of security.

    India’s initiative to hold RAVSECC along with participation from other international agencies/organizations has resolved India’s commitment for regional cooperation among the nations as aviation security is dependent on the overall security scenario in the world. Further, India is committed to offer technical and other logistical assistance to the needy states in the field of ‘Aviation Security’. India has specifically implemented all the ICAO’s security standards and recommended practices and in several aspects India has done much more than the prescribed basic minimum standards.

    The ICAO audit team has recently conducted security audit, under the Universal Security Audit Programme(USAP), of Indian aviation security and there were no major issues. The audit team found that India is one among the top few countries, who have complied with all the global standards in aviation security in the aviation industry today.



    Delegates from 16 countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bhutan, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and India International Organizations like Airport Council International, European Commission, International Air Transport Association, Deptt. Of Transport-UK, Transport Security Administration, USA are attending the Conference.



    Following is the text of speech of the Civil Aviation Minister at the inaugural of the Conference:

    “I would like to extend a hearty welcome to all of you to India and would like to convey our government's sincere appreciation of the fact that the countries and organizations represented here have attached utmost importance to this Regional conference on Aviation Security. We are thankful for your participation.

    I would also like to thank International Civil Aviation Organization for associating with our Government to organize this important event. The fact that the ICAO team to this conference is led by the Secretary General of ICAO is a testimony to the high priority which ICAO accords to its strategic objective of aviation security and the importance of Regional Cooperation.

    Through Mr Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General of ICAO I would like to convey India's sincere appreciation of the tremendous work done by ICAO towards a safe, secure and environmentally sustainable global air transport system and we hope to work together with guidance of ICAO to make our skies safe, secure and environmentally sustainable.

    Apart from the dignitaries from our neighboring States we also have very valuable participation from Administrator of TSA, Representatives from European Commission, UK, IATA and ACI. We would like to thank all of you and we are certain that your participation would certainly enhance the level of deliberation in this conference.


    Before I speak on security I would take this opportunity to brief the distinguished delegates about India’s aviation sector. India has an illustrious history of civil aviation and I am proud to welcome you to India when we are in the midst of our celebration of 100 years of civil aviation in India. We plan to organize a large number of events to celebrate this important landmark in our aviation history.

    Airline industry in India has grown by about 400% in the last 7 years. With a domestic passenger base of over 50 million, India now ranks fourth after USA, China and Japan. It is the fastest growing and ninth largest aviation market in the world. It is estimated that the travel of international passengers to and from India would grow to the tune of 50 million by the year 2015. India’s domestic passenger growth is expected to continue to grow at the rate of 9 to 10 per cent to reach a level of 180 million passengers by the year 2015 and 270-300 million by 2020. In 2010 we have managed to achieve a growth of about 19 % in domestic passenger traffic over 2009. Air navigation services of 2.8 million sq nautical miles provided by India have helped the development of 90 international and 120 domestic air routes.

    Improvement of infrastructure and the need for increased trained manpower for surveillance has been identified as one of our main challenges. By middle of next year all six of our largest metro cities would have brand new airports with capacity to manage this growth till at least next decade. In this time we would also totally modernize about 50 of our non-metro airports. Oversight for safe operations is a key priority and we are currently in the process of a double fold increase in technical manpower in our DGCA set up. We are also in process of setting up an independent Civil Aviation Authority. We are amongst the few countries which have established Airport Economic Regulatory Authority which is providing valuable service to the airport sector.

    Similarly we are in the process of revamping our security operations and organization to meet the phenomenal growth in traffic. India has recently commission an ICAO study for restructure ad systemic improvement in our security organization in view of emerging developments in Aviation Security scenario.

    I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm India’s commitment and support to ICAO towards fulfillment of its vision of safe, secure, orderly and sustainable development of international civil aviation by promoting consensus and cooperation amongst members of ICAO. India will continue to fully support ICAO’s endeavors to promote understanding, friendship and peace amongst the nations and people of the world besides promoting economic development, trade and tourism throughout the world.

    Aviation Security has been identified by ICAO as one of the three major strategic objectives. We have noted that during recent times ICAO is instituting organizational reforms to increase its effectiveness and efficiency to enable the organisation to face new challenges of technological, economic, social and legal nature. Member States of ICAO have greatly benefitted from modernized aviation security standards laid by ICAO which are audited and enforced across the globe. Through audits and technical assistance ICAO has provided a basic platform to build a robust aviation security framework. We wholeheartedly welcome these measures and commit to extend necessary support to ICAO in implementing these reforms. We also support USAP and commit to fund all Aviation Security programme through ICAO. India has done well in the first USAP audit conducted by ICAO. The second round is under way.

    Over the years aviation has become a soft target for terrorists and extremists. Any attack on aviation generates a lot of media interest and helps the terrorist groups to achieve their objective of getting maximum publicity. Securing Aviation as you all will agree is a complex business. The dichotomy of stringent security measures vis-a-vis the demand for efficient passenger facilitation need to be managed properly. While fully sympathetic to the demands of the industry and passengers for better facilitation we need to place the security of aviation as our top most priority.

    We are all developing countries and we fully appreciate the huge potential of aviation as a key driver of economy. Development of infrastructure, generation of employment, promotion of tourism, establishing international and domestic connectivity, movement of cargo etc. are some of benefits of aviation which have just started positively impacting our economy. The last thing we want is any disruption or interference in the orderly operation of domestic and international aviation in this region. Aviation Security unlike aviation safety is an extremely dynamic entity. The threats ,risks and challenges change and grow very fast leaving us with very little time to react and put corrective measures. The only way to hope for a secure aviation is to think ahead in this game, plan and be prepared for any and every eventuality.

    One of the most important facet of aviation security is International cooperation be it in the form of information gathering, intelligence sharing, deployment of new technologies and exchange of best practices. Regional cooperation and collaboration is a logical way forward to achieve this objective. India is fully cognizant of the fact that terrorism is not restricted by national boundaries, and we are keen to develop mechanisms within ICAO States to share security related information especially at regional level in an appropriate manner. All of us present here recognize this and that is why we are here today.

    Utilizing the expertise of ICAO in preparing a broad framework for such regional cooperation would not only be a big leap forward for the region but would also set the pace for such regional cooperation in other parts of the world. I would like to bring to your attention the 37th Assembly resolution on Security in which all of us have committed to provide technical assistance to States in need to effectively address security threats to civil aviation. I would like to reaffirm our Governments strong commitment to extend necessary technical assistance to States in need as well as develop a culture of cooperation in the region. Secretary Civil Aviation has already mentioned about the cooperation framework of security in Asia Pacific and we can utilize this existing forum to provide necessary technical assistance to needy States.

    As the first Regional Conference after the ICAO assembly it is our onerous responsibility to come up with a regional road map which would be a model for the other regional groups to emulate. I am told that during this two day conference, participants would discuss and prepare a joint Statement which would not only be the guiding path for all the countries present here but also a reference for other regional conferences in future. I would request the States to get together with an open mind and agree to prepare the regional plan based on the unanimous decision of the ICAO assembly.


    To sum up, I am very optimistic and excited about the outcome of this conference especially the message we are going to convey to the world that in the area of aviation security we are committed to put a united front to face the challenges of any unlawful interference to our aviation. With these words I wish the conference a huge success and my sincere gratitude to all the participants for coming here to attend this conference.”
     
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