Japan is to provide security equipment on a grant basis to the new Islamabad international airport, which is scheduled to go into operation on April 20, after an agreement was signed between Japan and Pakistan recently.

The agreement for $27.3 million in grant aid under the economic and social development programme was signed by acting Japanese Ambassador Takashi Harada and Economic Affairs Division Secretary Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani on behalf of their respective governments.

The provision of equipment has been made under the second phase of the airport security project, which will also supply security equipment for the screening of checked-in baggage, hand baggage and vehicles in Karachi, Faisalabad and Multan.

The project is a follow-up of the grant aid signed in 2013. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had procured security equipment, such as x-ray machines for vehicles and explosives detection for airports in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

With the new grant, the CAA will be able to develop its security capacity by procuring equipment for international airports in Multan and Faisalabad, and installing additional equipment in the Karachi airport and the new Islamabad airport.

This equipment embraces technology that meets international security standards set by the United States and the European Union. The equipment would reduce the risk of security related incidents at the four airports, and improve operations.

The chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency`s (JICA) Pakistan office Yasuhiro Tojo said the project would help the government achieve the key objective of the National Aviation Policy 2015,which is `to improve the governance and oversight for the compliance of ICAO standards of aviation safety, security and efficiency` in Pakistan.

Ambassador Harada added that the two grants would support the government`s work and strengthen the bond between Japan and Pakistan.

The grant from the economic and social development programme will also be used to procure meteorological observation equipment, enabling the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) to improve the accuracy of its weather forecasts and disseminate early warnings for climate disasters.

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