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Speed, handiness and customized high end technology for law enforcing agencies vital to ensure homeland security

Mr. Alok Joshi, Chairman, National Technical Research Organization (NTRO), Government of India, outlined the evolution of homeland security in India from the baton days to the present high-tech contemporary era. He was speaking at the session on ‘High-End Technologies’ of Homeland Security conference organized by FICCI in association with Vivekananda International Foundation on the theme ‘Modernization of India’s Internal Security Mechanism’.

Mr. Joshi deliberated upon the relevance of high end technologies and the challenges faced by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and law enforcing agencies. He said that there was a need for clear articulation of problems to get a precise resolution. High end technology demands customized, speedy and handy technology which could be delivered as per the customized requirement of agencies working in their respective domains. Besides, the emerging challenges posed due to possible dual use of technology needs to be studied and analysed in greater depth for the readiness of the law enforcing agencies.

 Mr. Sambit Patra, National Spokesperson, Bharatiya Janata Party, here today at the 9th edition of Homeland Security Speaking on Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), which has been under the scanner for long, Mr. Patra said that there have been suggestions of removing AFSPA from areas which have been showing signs of peace and tranquility. However, in the past there have been incidences when after the removal of AFSPA, anti-social elements utilized these areas for re-grouping and creating nuisance.

Highlighting various initiatives of the Government of India undertaken to augment India’s security, Mr. Patra said that the policy for national security clearance for certain sensitive sectors of the economy, which codifies all existing practices was one of the major steps of the government. The new policy aimed at bringing about a healthy balance between meeting the imperatives of national security and facilitating ease of doing business and promoting investment in the country.

Besides, he added that the government had formulated a framework to counter the threat of extremists who foment and resort to violent activities from within India. Addressing the rise of Left-wing extremism in the country, Mr. Patra said that an action-plan had been developed which is a multi-pronged approach to deal with it and as a result incidences of violence owing to Left-wing extremism has come down.

Referring to the clarion call of Prime Minister to develop a ‘SMART Police Force’, Mr. Patra said that ‘Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive; Techno-savvy and Trained’, police was needed and to realize this goal it is essential to hold healthy debates and modernize the processes and technology. He added that internal milieu of spirituality and calm was needed as this would be reflected on the external milieu of the citizens, which is needed to maintain peace and tranquility.

In his special address, Mr. Satish Chandra Jha, Advisor, NTRO, pointed out that for a comprehensive development of the homeland security domain in India there was a need for awareness about security in society. He stated that technology which is speedy, handy and relevant to the present day and age and oriented towards ensuring a secure future was high end technology. Therefore, closer interaction between industry and agencies would facilitate the interoperability and in-depth understanding about the needs of the CAPFs and agencies. This would strengthen the homeland security structure and arm it with capabilities to deal with the evolving complex threat matrix.

During the session the need for social media analysis was highlighted which can be carried out by significant analysis of Big Data in a time bound manner. Thus, while seeking the support from industry, the panelists highlighted that a credible industrial support which can provide greater techniques and facilitate speedy data analysis to scan, analyze, real time tracking, technology will comprehensively strengthen the homeland security of India.

Alluding to the importance of human resources in the police force, Mr. K. M. Singh, Former Member NDMA & Former DG, CISF, said that with high-end equipment and training, it was equally critical to know who is managing them. Quality human resources were needed to step up the internal security. With the cyber crimes racing ahead of conventional crime, it was highly essential to have up a credible cyber security framework. Besides, there was a need to develop a separate technical cadre to tackle specialized crimes.

Mr. Anurag Sharma, Director General of Police, Telangana State Police, said that the time had come for a strong collaboration between police, industry and experts. There was a need for experts to cater to specific needs of the police force and make the police officers tech-savvy. He emphasized the need for crowd sourcing where people could come up with solutions. Besides, there was a need to focus on R&D and resolve issues such as how to handle crowds without contact.

Mr. G.K. Pillai, Chairman, FICCI Committee on Homeland Security and Former Union Home Secretary, Government of India, said that the report released on procurement during the conference had several significant recommendations, which could be implemented after deliberations with the stakeholders. To this end, he suggested that a joint roundtable could be held with the enforcement agencies and industry. Also, he added that a draft regulation was needed for UAVs as they will play a critical role both in the internal security and civilian life.

Mr. Rajan Luthra, Co-Chair, FICCI Committee on Homeland Security and Chairman’s Office, Head-Special Projects, Reliance Industries Ltd., said that space agencies, defence forces, law enforcement agencies, homeland security, Process/Telecom Industry and Financial/Rating Agencies need to have real-time situational awareness and handle live situations, process vast amounts of information from diverse sources, detect and respond promptly to abnormal behaviour or incidents and use advanced technology systems equivalent of C6ISR in military parlance.

Mr. Praveen Jaiswal, Co-Founder & Director, Vehere Interactive, said that encryption was the new challenge facing law enforcement not just in India but around the world, which makes it impossible to engage in legitimate monitoring of communications by terrorists and criminals. He added that traditional methods of TECHINT need to be overhauled with a combination of Meta Data Analysis, decryption, active and passive monitoring.