ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden paid an official visit to India on 19-20 April 2004 as guest of the national standards institute, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS -, the ISO member for the country and one of the founders of the organization.

ISO Secretary-General, Alan Bryden with Dr. Nirmal Singh, Director General of BIS and his main directors

His schedule of VIP meetings included a visit to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, where he was received by the Indian Government's Secretary, Consumer Affairs, Navin Chawla.

During his stay, he underlined the need to communicate better in India on ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001 certification and to improve monitoring of their implementation, so as to avoid misuse and misconceptions.

On 20 April, Mr. Bryden addressed a gathering at BIS of executives of Indian industry associations, consumer organizations and government departments, plus standardization experts and media representatives, on issues related to International Standardization - Challenges and Opportunities.

He underlined the significant contribution of ISO's voluntary standards to facilitating international trade, for which they are recognized in the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Mr. Bryden outlined ISO's broad portfolio of standards for products, services, materials, processes, information technology, conformity assessment, quality and the environment. ISO's work is increasing in scope to address new service sectors - including financial services - security, food safety and quality, intelligent transport systems, new technologies and good management practice to constitute a complete offering in support of sustainable development.

Regarding developing countries, the ISO Secretary-General said that the organization was carrying out specific actions and formulating further plans for assisting them to increase awareness of International Standards and conformity assessment systems and to develop their standardization capacity, including by increased use of information and communication technologies. ISO is also striving to step up the participation of developing countries in both the governance of ISO operations and in its technical work.

Mr. Bryden revealed that India itself participates in 182 of ISO's standards-developing technical and subcommittees, which represents about 25 % of the total.

The BIS Director General, Shri Nirmal Singh, has been appointed Regional Liaison Officer for the South Asia region of ISO. He called upon national stakeholders, particularly industry, to strengthen their contribution to international standardization.

  • ISO is holding a workshop on Certification and conformity assessment: building confidence for developing countries in New Delhi, India, on 6-7 December 2004