New Delhi, Feb 14 (ANI): Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi on Monday reaffirmed India's commitment and support to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) towards fulfillment of its vision of a safe, secure, orderly and sustainable development of international civil aviation by promoting consensus and cooperation amongst the members of ICAO.
Inaugurating the Regional Aviation Security Conference (RAVSECC) here, Ravi said: "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," he added.
Ravi, who is also the Overseas Indian Affairs Minister, said the member states of ICAO have greatly benefited 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," said Ravi.
"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," he added.
Ravi further said 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-à-vis the demand for efficient passenger facilitation needs 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," said Ravi.
Appreciating the huge potential of aviation as a key driver of economy, the minister said: "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," he added.
Asserting that India is fully cognizant of the fact that terrorism is not restricted by national boundaries, Ravi said: "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."
The objective of the conference, which is being organised by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, 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.
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, Department of Transport-UK, Transport Security Administration, USA are attending the Conference. (ANI)