Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why Police came shopping at Army exposition?

By: Anshuman G DuttaDate: 2010-02-17

Faced with terror and naxals para-military forces too show keen interest in acquiring new arms and technologies

What 9/11 did to the US homeland security, 26/11 had done to internal security scenario in India.
The security forces are fast realizing that the threat to inland targets is much more real than on the borders. Apart from their terror perception, the Mumbai terrorist strikes of 26/11 have also changed the shopping style of the para-military and police forces. At least the ongoing Defexpo suggests a similar shift.

While the armed forces still remain the biggest stakeholders, state police forces and Central Para-Military Forces (CPMF) have sneaked into the growing market of security equipments in last few years.

A status check with some of the prominent defence equipment manufacturers exhibiting their products in the exhibition clearly showed that police forces across the country will soon grab the biggest pie of the industry. Sources also revealed that with government accepting left wing extremism as the biggest security threat and the demand for advanced technology for police and para-military forces is all set to touch new highs.

"The possibility of military confrontation with any country has gone down but the concept of homeland security is expanding," said an official from Ministry of Defence.

Para-military forces and state police forces have shown keen interest in acquiring state of the art bulletproof jackets, helmets, Mine Protected Vehicles (MPV), Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) and night vision devices.
Realizing the shift in the market pattern Indian manufactures also geared up meet the growing demand. While almost all the state police forces engaged in naxal warfare are procuring bullet proof jackets the demand for high end equipments like mine protected vehicles too is rising.

Mahindra Defence Systems, which unveiled its MPV is also looking forward to orders from para-military and police forces. The company's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Qhutube Hai said security agencies under Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are showing tremendous interest in their products.

Besides Mahindra Defence Systems, Ashoka Leyland and Tata Industries have also launched their MPVs and are looking forward to buyers from CPMFs and police forces.

"The defence market is no more a defence market; it has become a security market which is providing equipments and services for armed forces and central para military as well as police forces," said Deba R Mohanty, senior fellow and a prominent defence analyst from Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

"Currently the products in the defence and security market are being diversified to cater to the need of para-militaries and police forces also. Many systems used by the police and para-militaries and conventional armed forces are similar in nature like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and MPVs," he added.

While Naxal-affected states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal are taking the lead, other states are also showing keen interest in such systems. "MHA has issued a tender for 59,000 bulletproof jackets while we have already provided jackets to Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Gujarat governments," said a senior official from MKU Pvt Limited, manufacturers of bulletproof jackets and night vision devices.

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