MUMBAI // Not so long ago the idea of homeland security in India meant little more than a chowkidar - watchman - looking after a residential compound, factory or block of flats.
Today it is a multibillion-dollar high-tech sector Reliance Industries, the country's biggest private company, is hoping to dominate.
To that end, Reliance has signed an agreement with Germany's Siemens to jointly develop what it calls "safe, secure and smart cities and highways in India".
Reliance, which has broadband wireless telephone infrastructure across India, plans to offer fourth-generation (4G) networking services for safety, security and other advanced applications, a spokesman for Reliance said.
India is expected to become one of the major civil security, or homeland security, markets in the world with expected cumulative spends of about US$10 billion (Dh36.72bn) by 2017. Defence expenditure is also expected to reach an annual $42.6bn by 2015.
In addition, Indian airports will need to attract investments to the tune of $3.3bn by 2016, while some $3.3bn will need to be spent on mass transport, such as railways and metro rail systems. Security-related spending for maritime areaswill be about $1bn by 2016, it is estimated.
Moreover, some $350 million is forecast to be spent on critical infrastructure protection that involves pipelines, nuclear power stations, hydroelectric stations and roadways by 2016.
The importance of surveillance and security has steadily grown as insurgency and terrorism have become more commonplace globally. With the traditional security platforms unable to address these challenges, there is an emerging need to move to intelligent electronic security solutions.
According to industry sources, there is a need for a common platform for information collection, storage, analysis and dissemination to achieve actionable intelligence related to the movement of people, money and information. To address these needs, the country has taken initiatives such as the crime and criminal tracking network and systems to electronically link 14,000 police stations and 6,000 higher police offices in all 35 Indian states and union territories.
Reliance already operates the world's largest integrated security automation system consisting of more than 12,000 cameras - apart from tens of thousands of other advanced security sensors, radars, and video analytics, among others - for its own critical infrastructure.
Siemens Building Technologies, a division of Siemens India, provides what is claimed to be the world's most advanced security solution, called Siveillance. These solutions have been designed and developed at the Siemens research facility in India's southern city of Chennai.
According to Siemens, Siveillance creates a reliable and efficient platform to meet the expanding security and surveillance requirements of wide-area protection for critical infrastructure, public areas, cities, highways, iconic buildings and installations of vital economic interest.