To raise its technological capability in the area of homeland security, the government is looking at setting up a centre for focused research on the latest electronic equipment, which can be indigenously manufactured. The centre, funded by the government, is planned to be set up in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay and the industry. The move is also driven by the security concerns regarding imported equipment for internal defence needs.
Discussions are going on between government security agencies and IIT-Bombay to work out the feasibility of the proposal. Officials from various security agencies in the country like CRPF, NSG, NIA and SPG, along with state police agencies, were present at a recent meeting to deliberate on the project. IIT-Bombay, which will house the centre, feels its expertise in the area can be leveraged. “We felt the requirements for homeland security are different from those of the armed forces, for which agencies such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) carry out research,” said Abhay Karandikar, head of electrical division at IIT-Bombay, adding the expertise of DRDO can be leveraged wherever possible.
The centre is at a very formative stage yet and availability of equipment, its cost and security are the main drivers behind the idea, Karandikar said. The specific areas where the research could be carried out include image processing, video analytics, communication systems, sensors for explosive detection, robotics, autonomous vehicle such as unmanned aerial vehicles, etc. The centre, which will arm the government to tackle internal security issues better, is a good idea, feel experts, only if research on equipment which could be “productionised” and at a cost which is cheaper than what is already available. The person added for instance, various combat agencies had their own security equipment but could not talk to each other in a crisis situation, as their communication systems were not on the same frequency.