Updated: November 24, 2015 4:26:27 am
CALLING India a model of inclusiveness, Richard Verma, the United States Ambassador to India, on Monday said it is due to this that fewer Indians have joined the Islamic State as compared to several other countries.
Speaking at a conference on security in mega cities in a South Mumbai hotel, Verma said inclusive governance is a key factor in ensuring security in mega cities, and the way mega cities serve and engage their population are determinants of effective security policy. “India is a model of inclusiveness. That is why very few Indians have joined the Islamic State. There’s much to learn from India in this regard,” Verma said.
“We have to get to some of the root causes of unrest as well. There is potential for a certain section of the population to feel frustrated. Rapid growth of cities is increasing stress on government services and policing. Improving security is not just about technology and law enforcement, but ensuring that people feel included in the political process,” he added.
Verma said a hundred years ago, two out of ten people would live in cities, while today more than half the world’s population is urban. Currently, there are about 30 mega cities with a population of more than 10 million, three of which are in India – Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. By 2030, there will be more than 40.
“As the number of mega cities grow, there are two threats. The first is terrorism as this city knows far too well. Social media platforms are enabling radicalisation, recruitment, and networking among like-minded individuals from afar. The return of foreign fighters from places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria also casts ominous shadows. More so than ever before, small groups and individuals have access to lethal and even military-grade technologies that give them the ability to attack a city’s functioning,” the American diplomat said.
Besides inclusive governance, Verma emphasised the need to come up with local solutions to identify security threats as local leaders are best positioned to understand sources of unrest and strife and act as per local cultures, traditions and sensitivities. City-to-city partnerships will also help in sharing lessons learned, intelligence, tactics and technology.
”After the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the Los Angeles Police Department sent over a team to study the attacks and the Mumbai police response. When they returned to the United States, the department evolved its counter-terrorism training based on the Mumbai experience and then presented it to 64 cities around the United States,” Verma said, adding India and the United States are working closely on security issues as well as livability in cities.
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