US firms set to pitch for homeland security business in India

Sunday, September 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - With the Indian Government moving rapidly to improve and augment its homeland security infrastructure, American companies are hoping to be the first to be called in for providing modern surveillance systems, sophisticated mine detectors, anti-hacking software and guns etc.

“As far as internal security goes, its strengthening and augmentation, there is going to be no dearth of money or resources,” the Washington Post quoted Ajay Maken, India’s deputy home minister, as saying at a security conference this month.

Indian authorities are demanding better weapons and more sophisticated technology for police forces.

Today, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray machines and bomb squads proliferate in airports, the Metro, malls, multiplexes and high-rises, but analysts say the country’s arsenal of domestic security weapons remains woefully inadequate in the battle against terrorism, separatist violence and Maoist guerrillas.

India and the United States have emerged as strong strategic allies since reaching a civilian nuclear accord that is likely to generate more than 100 billion dollars worth of business.

The two countries set up a counter-terrorism cooperation initiative this year. Last month, Indian law enforcement and the FBI participated in a counter-terrorism program that included sessions on improvised explosive devices and post-blast investigations.

Business opportunities for security companies over the next few years will be worth nearly 1.7 trillion dollars, said an official of a U.S. delegation to the conference this month.

Maken said India is also setting up a national intelligence database and modern crime tracking systems that prioritize cyber-security.

“The more we are technologically advanced, the more is the threat of infiltration in our networking systems,” he said.

India’s internal security department has also bought long-range acoustic warning systems, sound guns and other devices from American companies.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed state police chiefs to find non-lethal means to control mobs. That opened up opportunities for companies such as Taser International, an Arizona-based firm that set up an office in India after the Mumbai attacks and attended the homeland security conference this month.(ANI)

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