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Indian Home Minister calls for new technology in aviation security

The Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Rajnath Singh urged the country’s security stakeholders to adopt and employ new technology to fortify the nation’s aviation security.

According to a press statement released on Tuesday, the Minister called for cooperation among all government agencies to develop impenetrable aviation security.

At the International Aviation Security Seminar, Mr Rajnath Singh asked the stakeholders in the aviation sector, specifically the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), to infuse new technology for aviation security. He said that this can be done through a combination of trained human resources and modern security infrastructure.

During the two-day seminar, organised by the CISF, Mr Rajnath Singh addressed the terrorist threats to the aviation sector. The release quoted him saying that the civil aviation security continues to be an extremely challenging task as the sector remains an important target for terror outfits. Terrorists look for opportunities where they can draw maximum attention and media coverage.

He said that the use of new technology and innovative methods to launch attacks on the aviation sector are already in plenty. He noted that the case of Shoe Bomber in 2001, use of liquid explosives in London in 2006 and the case of Underwear Bomber in Amsterdam 2009 are clear indicators that terrorists are pushing the limits to attack the aviation sector.

The Ministry said that India should adhere to a stricter implementation of internationally accepted and followed guidelines and norms. An introduction of updated, advanced technology in all airport processes would enhance its security capabilities.

Mr Rajnath Singh said that the Government and aviation agencies should constantly be developing new methods to tackle conventional and unconventional threats.

He discussed the need to increase the security of smaller airports. He said that the Brussels and Istanbul airport attacks have shown the vulnerability of airports especially from the city-side and are another threat to aviation facilities.

The country has been constantly upgrading its security strategies and is equipped to deal with the changing threat perception.

The release said that to deal with aircraft hijacking-related threats, the country has reviewed its legislation and upped its security measures. The new Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016  that repealed and replaced the Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982, is intended to enforce the Hague Hijacking Convention and the 2010 Beijing Protocol Supplementary Convention.

The new act has a wider definition of hijacking and includes any attempt to take control of an aircraft by any technological means, it also considers the possibility that the hijackers may not be physically on board the aircraft.

Mr Rajnath Singh said the government is serious in terms of strengthening aviation security and regulatory oversight. He said that as a matter of policy the government has taken a conscious decision to separate the functions of a security regulator from those being performed by regulated entities in the aviation ecosystem. This insulation addresses the fundamental problem of conflict of interest encountered in the regulatory framework.

The Ministry said the overarching goal is to enhance global security by implementing uniform security measures around the world, a goal that cannot be achieved without an unwavering commitment from all quarters.