A soldier guards a checkpoint outside Srinagar International Airport in Jammu and Kashmir (2009).

The intrinsic need to protect its people and a vast labour resource has catapulted India’s homeland security sector into unprecedented growth. Dealing with terrorism and police modernisation were among the fastest growing segments in India with the annual spend of 2-3 billion dollars each in 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for domestic manufacturing of defence equipment including homeland security equipment under his ‘Make in India’ campaign has tremendously aided this growth.

Even as the threat of terrorism looms large across the globe, India too has sadly been the victim of needless terrorist attacks. In fact, the morning of the New Year, 2016, began regrettably. The country was awakened with a terror threat at the Pathankot Indian Air Force base in a district that borders Pakistan – the operation to comb out the terrorists lasted 80 hours and cost the lives of 7 security personnel.

The Kashmir province not far from Pathankot has been at the heart of a territorial conflict between India and Pakistan since 1947 causing the rise of cross border-terrorism India continues to battle. Along with this unstable region in the north, the country faces tension with China and Bangladesh along its Eastern border as well as widespread local insurgency in Northeast India.

A Worried World

It is not just India, but countries across the world have come face to face with mindless violence and the growing threat of terrorism in recent years. From Africa to Asia, Boston to Paris, we sadly live in a world where some rage a war against peace.

In these unpredictable times, the need for homeland security for civil defence has become crucial. Bracing oneself on the side of caution to safeguard citizens is imperative. Whether it is surveillance equipment like CCTV, access control systems; protective gear, bullet proof equipment and vehicles, metal detectors or under vehicle scanners; security in both sensitive geographic areas and public spaces needs to be spruced up. Cities with their ever growing populations are particularly vulnerable and need to be well equipped for security and safety.

How India can help

This grim reality across the world and within its own borders has encouraged India to focus resolutely on security equipment made in India. The government to facilitate the defence sector has raised the permitted level of foreign direct investment to 49% and has eliminated requirements for industrial licensing.

India’s strengths lie in its ability to make available competent equipment at affordable prices. Manufacturing safety and security equipment for being self reliant, also means India understands security products. The country’s immense skilled labour and low cost of production gives it an advantage over several other countries as a safety equipment supplier.

Until recently, some restricted security equipment made in India was not for sale on the international market because of the political ban on exporting equipment that could fall into the wrong hands. The pragmatic and business oriented policy of the current government has changed the game. While strictly complying with international rules, India is keen to leverage its expertise and competitive pricing to gain important market shares to become a reliant safety equipment supplier.

Elizabeth Raj | Blogger- Arsha Consulting

Image credit: Jrapczak


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