Aviation Security Current Affairs - 2019
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India and United States (US) at the Homeland Security Dialogue have resolved to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas, including counter-terrorism, immigration and aviation security. For this dialogue, Indian delegation was led by Additional Secretary in Home Ministry Rajni Sekhri Sibal, while US side was led by James McCament, Deputy Under Secretary, Department of Homeland Security.
The recent talks between both countries in dialogue focused on issues relating to security cooperation, customs and immigration, aviation security, capacity building. Both countries are in process of firming up list of terror fugitives and have agreed on names of individuals for global entry programme (GEP) under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6) Agreement. The HSPD-6 agreement allows sharing of terror-related information, while GEP exempts prominent citizens from immigration checks. US has already finalised such agreements with 30 countries.
India-United States cooperation in matters related to counter-terror initiatives and intelligence sharing is part of the dialogue. Both sides have agreed to work out modalities to address these issues. There have been several rounds of discussions between interlocutors of two countries in past two year and both sides have narrowed down their differences on several key issues on sharing of data on militants.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is set to move a proposal before Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for taking over Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
BCAS, currently under the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is responsible for laying down standards, policies and measures with regard to security of all commercial flights. Multiple security agencies working at airports, including immigration officials, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) security personnel, local police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) are bound by regulations passed by BCAS.
The decision is based on security audit conducted by team of experts from MHA, IB, CISF and BCAS which had recommended change. Once CCS gives its approval, CISF will assume larger role in airport security. The new set-up will help in better coordination and monitoring, since CISF, IB and state intelligence all report to MHA.
It will also speed up issue of security clearances for airlines and airports as in the past, there have been inordinate delays in granting clearances due to differences between MHA and MoCA on grounds that airlines and airports have not complied with norms despite guidelines. The move may also result in increase in passenger security fee since CISF will be deployed at all 98 airports across country.
Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)
It was set up as a cell in Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 1978, after an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked in September 1976. BCAS was reorganised as an independent department under MoCA in April 1987, as follow-up to Kanishka bombing in June 1985. It is currently headed by a commissioner of security.