The 11th edition of the UIC World Security Congress was organised by the Security Directorate of Indian Railways/RPF in collaboration with the International Union of Railways (UIC), the worldwide railway association. The conference was held at Leela Palace Hotel, New Delhi, from 9 – 10 December 2015 and was attended by around 150 participants from 15 countries. Among the participants were police, security agencies of India and railway representatives of the UIC Security Platform (chaired by Shri Rajiva Ranjan Verma, Director General of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Indian Railways, and vice-chaired by Prof Gerd Neubeck , Chief Security Officer, DB AG, Germany).
In India, two earlier security events were organised by Indian Railways in collaboration with UIC in Delhi and Mumbai in 2006 and 2010. In Delhi, the focus was on the growing challenges of terrorism in global railways, while in Mumbai it focused on security challenges and high speed developments.
Every year UIC organises a world security congress. This year’s edition is the first one in Asian region and focused on “Security of Rail Systems, Operations and Business Activities”, with various presentations on:
- Asia-Pacific regional security issues and consequent challenges to railway systems.
- Growing complexity of railway system and the importance of security in achieving short, medium and long term goals.
- Resource constraints and burden of expectations on security agencies, especially in the context of South Asia.
- Preparing for crisis management and mitigation of consequences of incidents in railways.
- Passenger security issues: problems and solutions.
- Freight security issues: problems and solutions.
Shri Rajiva Ranjan Verma, Director General of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Chairman of the UIC Security Platform, welcomed the participants of this 11th UIC World Security Congress on behalf of the Indian government and Indian railways.
Sh. Ashok Kumar Mital, Ministry of Railways, Chairman of Railway Board, complimented UIC for giving this opportunity to hold the 11th annual UIC World Security Congress in India. He recalled that Indian Railways is one of largest networks in the world with 23 million passengers per day, thus security is an important task and an integrated security system is being implemented in India to better protect rail services.
The Honourable Minister of Railways Sh. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu was the Chief Guest at this inaugural session: he underlined the importance of the global sharing of knowledge and intelligence to address security threats, especially terrorism which is a global phenomenon, even if the acts of terrorism are a local issue.
To conclude this opening session, Dr P.K. Mishra, PMO, Government of India, Additional Principal Secretary, gave a presentation on “Crisis situations, preparedness, and management of disasters involving railways”.
Then presentations on topics/factors affecting rail security in India, such as, ‘fidayeen’ attack, crime trends on Indian Railways, security of women passengers, child trafficking, complexities of rail security management, crisis management, crowd management, VIP security, cyber terrorism against railways, security of freight, etc, were delivered during the conference by domestic experts.
In addition, presentations were given by foreign delegates from SZDC (Czech infrastructure manager) on security issues, DBAG (German Railways) on the issue of refugees and also on crisis management, UK transport authority on station design, SNCFT (Tunisian Railways) on security, SNCF (French Railways) on railway security academy, RZD (Russian Railways) on the integrated protection of railway stations and the UIC Security Division on its activities at the request of its members, research projects and the RESTRAIL project on reduction of suicide and trespass incidents.
A panel discussion on “International cooperation in developing best practices, implementation of modern technology and training of personnel” was also held on the second day.
The following Congress Final Declaration was delivered by Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General:
“The Member-Participants wish to express their heartfelt gratitude to the organisers – the Indian Railways (IR), the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) – for successfully organising the 11th edition of the World Security Congress held at New Delhi from 9 – 10 December 2015. The broad theme of the conference being “Security of Rail Systems, Operations and Business Activities”, rich discussions were held on various aspects of rail security among domain experts from different countries and we are confident that these deliberations shall be useful in crafting suitable policies for improving rail security and its associated businesses.
The Member-Participants wish to emphasise the fact that developing full-proof rail security systems, though challenging, is nevertheless becoming increasingly crucial as heightened security threats, such as terrorism and organised crime, are undermining the safety of rail operations across the world.
In this regard, the Member-Participants seek to develop collaborative partnerships at three different levels:
- At the national level, as rail security is a shared responsibility between national governments and railway companies or between national security agencies and railway authorities within their respective states;
- At the regional level, encompassing the rail networks of two or more countries for smooth conduct of international rail traffic;
- At the international level, as threats such as terrorism and organised crime have become transnational in nature, and addressing these threats requires a coordinated response from all concerned stakeholders.
In this regard, an international body along the lines of ‘InterPol’ could be developed to proactively collaborate with all agencies concerned in order to meet challenges of rail security at different levels.
We believe that collaborative partnerships such as these will be conducive for the sharing of expertise and experience and will strengthen national governments and railway organisations in developing suitable policy frameworks directed towards rail security.
The Member-Participants recommend that UIC may increase its global profile as a leading consortium, to comprehensively develop policy issues related to rail security, establish multilateral platforms for sharing expertise and fostering technological cooperation, developing international best practice in rail operations, and undertaking policy advocacy and research activities.
UIC may also pay specific attention to the need for to train railway security personnel of different countries, including conducting short-term courses and international exchange programmes, to enhance the capacities of human resources.
It may be noted here that UIC is planning to organise a seminar on terrorism in mid-June 2016 at Paris UIC HQ, as a sequel to the first one conducted from 16 – 17 June 2015, on the theme “Coping with Terrorism – the Role of Human Factors”.
The Member-Participants suggest, that UIC, along with IR/RPF, may study the feasibility of setting up a global network of experts to holistically study the emerging nature of threats to rail transport systems, and undertake suitable policy actions to strengthen rail security.”
Mr Verma, chairman of the UIC Security Platform, also suggested the main focuses for 2016. Among these are a cooperation unit at global level between the rail community, the relevant international agencies or specialised bodies in order to strengthen the vigilance and preparedness in view of the evolution of security threats.
The congress was closed with the address of Sh. Manoj Kumar Sinha – the Honourable Minister of State of Railways of Government of India. He underlined the importance of the security topics addressed during the congress and the much needed international cooperation to be more efficient in protecting the railways. In particular, he expressed his personal gratitude to UIC for having given this opportunity to organise the 11th World Security Congress in Delhi, jointly with its Indian partners.
All presentations are available on the private security workspace at http://extranet.uic.org/