Thursday, 5 December 2013

Union Home Minister’s Inaugural Address at India-US Police Chiefs Conference

Union Home Minister Shri Sushilkumar Shinde’s
Following is the text of Union Home Minister Shri Sushilkumar Shinde’s inaugural speech at India-US Police Chiefs Conference:-
         My distinguished colleague in the Ministry, Shri Mullapally Ramachandran, Your Excellency, Ambassador of the United States of America Ms. Nancy Powell, Mr. David Heyman, Assistant Secretary for Policy, US Department of Homeland Security, Shri Anil Goswami, Home Secretary, Ms. Sneh Lata Kumar, Secretary (Border Management), Shri Kurshid Ahmed Ganai, Additional Secretary, DGPs of the States, Chiefs of Central Police Organisations, other distinguished delegates, members of the media, Ladies and Gentlemen.

2.       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 enhance internal security, the more meaningful our partnership becomes to the ordinary citizen.  I am therefore delighted to welcome you to this Conference on Security, Megacity Policing and related issues being organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India at New Delhi. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
3.       I am happy to note that this Conference brings together Police Chiefs of many important Indian cities as well as some of their American counterparts to discuss and deliberate on important aspects of our common endeavour to secure our cities and our people.

4.       Today countries like India and the United States are at the forefront of the effort to counter the relentless threat of terrorism and international crime. We are also unfortunately the leading targets of such trans-national terror groups and crime syndicates. All too often, attacks are launched from across sovereign borders, in a manner calculated to cause the greatest disruption of peace. It will, therefore, have to be the endeavor of all countries to fight this menace in all its forms and manifestations through partnerships based on genuine and result-oriented cooperation.

5.       This was one of the central objectives that inspired our countries to establish the India USA Homeland Security Dialogue. It is as an important element of our growing bilateral security architecture. Indeed, the Homeland Security Dialogue was an outcome of the State Visit of President Obama in November 2010.       

6.       Securing our cities is a focus area of our Homeland Security Dialogue, for a simple and obvious reason. As we all know, major terrorist attacks typically target large and densely populated urban areas, intentionally trying to inflict maximum damage. Both our countries have lived through such terrorist carnage, during 9/11 in New York, and during 26/11 in Mumbai. Cooperation in Megacity Policing is intended to help each other enhance capacity, and to learn from each other, to provide an integrated security umbrella to megacities and large urban centres.

7.       An efficient Megacity Policing system must serve as an effective deterrent against terrorists and their masters, who launch targeted attacks on the nerve centers of a country. Our objective must be to make our cities safe, and therefore our countries safe by reducing our vulnerability to such challenges.

8.       Apart from countering terror attacks, there are other kinds of mass casualty events, and security challenges that are specific to urban centres. All societies work to mitigate such challenges and enhance emergency response capacity. Even though India and the US are at different technological levels in terms of security infrastructure and average urban population size, there are certain commonalities to the challenges that all urban centres face. So also, there are solutions that some of 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. Some of our own challenges in this regard are not uncommon to our American partners, and perhaps the solutions that each of us are working towards can be relevant for each other. A conference such as this should enable us to enhance the flow of ideas to improve policing and law enforcement action in both our countries. Indeed, it was for these reasons that my counterpart, Secretary Napolitano, and I had agreed that one of the ways in which we could institutionalize cooperation in the field of Megacity Policing was to hold such a conference.

9.       Ladies and Gentlemen, apart from improved policing techniques and operational mechanisms to share information, technology is a key input for policing. Increasingly, sophisticated technologies are being adapted, or even specifically developed, to assist Police Forces in early detection of crimes, identification of perpetrators, improved coordination among agencies, and expedited response time. The United States has consistently led the world in deploying technology in service of its people, and there is much that we can do together as partners to enhance the use of appropriate technologies for our 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.

10.     I believe this Conference will exchange experiences and ideas in the areas of Megacity Policing including use of technology in providing effective policing and public safety. Synergy achieved would be a precursor to more vigorous cooperation and collaboration between the law enforcement agencies of the two countries, leading to better synchronization of effort and operations in averting terrorist attacks and tracing such attacks quickly. It will also help us in more regular policing tasks, including securing our public spaces for all our citizens in particular, women and children, and in enhancing the efficacy of law enforcement agencies to act in coordination against international crime. I expect that this Conference will create new channels of interaction between India and the US, as well as new methodologies for our police forces on both sides to adopt to secure our cities. We hope that this Conference is the precursor to many more efforts to jointly develop our partnership to strengthen the security apparatus of both our countries.

11.     Let me, in conclusion, reaffirm India’s commitment to work as partners with the U.S. in bringing and applying State of the Art technologies to crime prevention, crime detection, forensic analysis, better communications technologies and traffic management tools, with the overall objective of making our cities safer, better organized and more orderly. I urge technology partners from both countries to join hands with each other, and with law enforcement agencies in India and the US, to create an institutional framework to deploy innovative technologies and enhance research to upgrade expertise in various fields of Homeland Security in the larger public interest.

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