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'Praful Patel did not ask for apology'

world Updated: Sep 30, 2010 15:25 IST
Civil Aviation Minister

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel did not ask for an apology when he met US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in Montreal on being questioned by immigration authorities for mistaken identity at Chicago airport.

"He (Patel) didn't ask for an apology but we did talk about what is needed in both countries to make sure that air travel remains safe," Napolitano told the CNN in an interview.

Napolitano met Patel in Montreal on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meet. "Well, I actually met with the minister yesterday. We had a good conversation," Napolitano said when asked about Patel's detention at the Chicago airport and whether he was "really grilled".

"I think it gives confidence that no one is exempt from screening or random screening. That's part of the process. Unpredictability is part of the process," she said.

"On the other hand, when you have known experts from other countries, known higher officials from other countries we need to make sure that they can get through the airport smoothly," she said.

Napolitano said global aviation has been much safer after the failed Christmas bombing attack due to the series of security measures taken by the US and other countries.

"I think global aviation has been safe. Our goal is to keep it so. And to make sure that we are adapting where we need to in light of the fact that the threat keeps evolving and adapting," the official said.

"So, when you have 190 nations of the world in one place reaching a global consensus on not only a set of standards to be achieved but also a set of regional summits that will take place over the next 18 months, and really a commitment to make sure this global aviation system which helps knit us all together remains safe, that's really a historic achievement," she said.