There is need to develop lasting networks between the different cities. Through these networks, we can begin a new dialogue to prepare for continued and intensified urbanisation, and the significant challenges it will entail, said Rachard Varma, the US Ambassador to Bharat. He was speaking in his special remarks in the Megacity Security Conference organised by South Asia Centre of Atlantic Council and India Foundation in collaboration with the US Consulate in Mumbai on November 22 to 24, 2015 in Mumbai.
Shri Varma further added that “the world is undergoing a demographic transition unprecedented in history. In 1950, there were only two megacities: New York and Tokyo. In 1975, Mexico City became the world’s third megacity. Today, there are approximately 30 megacities—cities with more than 10 million people. In Bharat alone, there already are three: Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata. By 2030, it is estimated an additional dozen cities will be added to the list, creating more than 40 megacities around the world out of which 7 will be in Bharat.” This will pose new challenges, internal and external, for the security of these cities and therefore, the dialogue is necessary. He also said that Bharat is already a model of inclusive governance and others can learn from it. Besides that he prescribed city to city partnerships, deployment of new technologies, public private partnership and localised solutions to deal with the risks posed by emergence of megacities.
At the Taj Mahal Hotel, where the 26/11 terrorist attack took place in 2008, a special address was delivered by Dr Ranjit Patil, Minister of State for Home and Urban Development, Government of Maharashtra. He enlisted various steps taken by the state government to manage security risks. He also called the participants concrete solutions, especially in the field of cyber security, to mitigate the future security challenges for cities like Mumbai.
Earlier on November 22, an inaugural ceremony was organised at the Raj Bhawan of Maharashtra. Jon Huntsman, chairman of Atlantic Council welcomed the guests and Bharat Gopalswami of South Asia Centre put forth the idea behind this conference on Megacity Security. Shri Praveen Dixit, Director General of Police, Maharashtra, Shri K P Bakshi Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Government of Maharashtra, Consul General Thomas Vajda and Capt Alok Bansal, Director India Foundation was also present in the ceremony. Referring to Mali and Paris attacks, Shri Bakshi enumerated threats to megacities from policing perspective, while Shri Bakshi called for security to be integral part of our urban planning. Capt Alok Bansal proposed vote of thanks for the ceremony.
During the 2 day conference, deliberations were held in on Strategy, Security and Sustainability of Cities, Envisioning Megacities Futures, Megacity Security, Guarding the Megacities: Policing Measures, The Role of Media in Megacity Security and Public Private Partnership in Megacity Security. Delegates and experts from more than 15 countries participated in the conference. n