Indian ePassport trials set for 2007
India, the second most populated country in the world, after China, with more than one billion citizens, has indicated that it will soon begin its staged conversion to electronic passports.
Pranab Mukherjee, India’s Minister of External Affairs, said that the country will undergo a trial phase in 2007 with certain diplomats and officials taking part in the project.
India’s passports are currently machine-printed and machine-readable, according to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) specifications. Mukherjee said that there have been a few cases where “unscrupulous elements have tried to tamper with the passports by substituting the photographs or changing personal particulars”.
“The incorporation of biometrics…such as fingerprints…will put a check on the tampering of passports and will make them more secure travel documents as per international standards,” he said recently, answering a question put to him in Parliament.
The Indian Government is believed to be in the process of finalizing the technical specifications of its proposed e-passport, which will eventually be implemented across the country’s passport issuance network and at Indian Missions/Posts abroad.
The ePassport trial is expected to be completed by the end of 2007. Earlier this year SDW reported that the staged implementation to citizens would last up until 2013.