Top security experts of India and the US met in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss various measures, including exchange of technologies, to help each other face challenges like terrorism, cyber crime and ensuring safety of major cities.
The conference of police chiefs from India and the US, which began on Wednesday, saw the security czars stressing the needs to develop global linkages for evolving effective policing to address security threats such as terrorism, drugs traffickings and transnational crime.
"This conference is a key element in the expansion of our bilateral cooperation with the United States, aimed at securing our nations. As strategic partners, the more we can work with each other to enhance internal security, the more meaningful our partnership becomes to the ordinary citizen," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said inaugurating the two-day meeting.
Referring to the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and the 26/11 Mumbai strike, the home minister said major terrorist attacks typically target large and densely populated urban areas, intentionally trying to inflict maximum damage.
Shinde said an efficient megacity policing system must serve as an effective deterrent against terrorists and their masters, who launch targeted attacks on the nerve centres of a country and therefore cooperation in megacity policing is intended to help each other enhance capacity, and to learn from each other, to provide an integrated security umbrella.
Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami said both sides will discuss all relevant issues relating to detection of terrorist activities, their prevention and protection of material resources and human lives in terror attacks.
"We have enormous challenges - conventional as well as modern. To surmount them, we have to forge partnership with like thinking nations who have an identical resolve to fight terrorism, strengthen peace and democracy and thereby development," he said.
Assistant Secretary in the US Department of Homeland Security David Heyman said this was for the first time the frontline operators and first protectors gathered to discuss mutual cooperation.
"We gathered to exchange information on homeland security, to share best practices, lessons learnt from each other from respective domestic security experiences. We hope to hear from police chiefs of major US cities their experiences, major companies how their technologies upgraded the US training capabilities, how they can help our partners in India," he said.
Heyman said India and the US face common challenges and therefore must find common grounds to face them.
"With the increase of relations, we are not only protecting our families and communities, we are protecting each other. We are here for many reasons. The United States is seeking greater security to its allies and partner countries," he said.
US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell said the US and India have come incredibly far in a very short period of time to enhance jointly security and law enforcement cooperation.
"We are here because the US and India have so much in common. The US-India relationship as a whole is major priority for both the nations. Our overall relations are robust spanning the depth and breadth of our respective government.
"Everything from commerce to counter-terrorism, to education and energy and cooperation in homeland security is one of the strongest pillars of our relations," she said.
Powell said counter-terrorism and law enforcement are top priorities and the conference is sharing best practices amongst peers.
"India's population is larger...together we can help each other, adopt new techniques and better ensure the safety and security of our population. Regardless of the many challenges that we face, we look forward to continue this exchange in the months and years to come," she said.
Shinde said even though India and the US are at different technological levels in terms of security infrastructure and average population size, there are certain commonalities to the challenges that all urban centres face.
"So also, there are solutions that some of the police forces may have established that are innovative or unique, and may be replicable elsewhere. There is also a need for better integration of security inputs and information that different law enforcement agencies generate, as well as mechanisms by which regional and federal agencies work with each other," he said.
The home minister said the US has consistently led the world in deploying technology in service of its people, and there is much that both the nations can do together as partners to enhance the use of appropriate technologies for the police forces.
"But beyond the technological aspect of megacity policing, there is the human aspect, as well. Police forces should also play a constructive role in providing necessary education and guidance to inculcate a sense of awareness and responsibility in the masses, so that the police force can defend us against terrorists and terrorist attacks in a better manner," he said.
Home Secretary Goswami said mega city policing is one of the most important aspects of homeland security dialogue but it cannot be seen in isolation from five other sub-groups in the global supply chain, illicit finance, cyber security, capacity building and technology upgradation.
"Mega city policing in inextricably linked to all of them. A security concern relating to any of the sub-group inevitably triggers the concerns of megacity policing. This is so because in this era, global centres are hub of economic progress of the country.
"Therefore, terrorist activities of various forms usually target such thickly populated areas. This is where megacity policing plays the pivotal role of protecting the material resources and human lives," he said.
Goswami said all nations are facing enormous challenges -- conventional as well as modern and to surmount them, the countries have to forge partnership with like thinking nations who have an identical resolve to fight terrorism, strengthen peace and democracy and thereby development.
"Megacity policing needs to develop global linkages for evolving an effective policing and have sufficient teeth to address the non-traditional, security threats such as terrorism, drugs traffickings and transnational crime. This conference is a step in that direction," he said.