A couple of reports on the anniversary of the Mumbai attacks highlight the fact that the shortfalls in India’s counter-terrorism capabilities are having to be filled by a huge increase in private security guards. This piece in the New York Times leaves the reader slightly concerned by the fact that the new front line is being manned essentially by rejects from the army or police. There’s a slightly different emphasis in this piece from the ISN Network, which gives the impression that India is following a similar path to that seen in the US after 9/11, with the huge profits available to private security firms causing them to expand at a huge rate and increasingly take over responsiblities that traditionally fell within the remit of the state.
One worrying implication of all this is that security in India is becoming even more of a bought commodity. Given the continued dire state of public security measures a year after the Mumbai trauma – as neatly depicted in Soutik Biswas’ blog this week – it seems that this could become an increasingly graphic reminder of the country’s wealth differentials – the rich protected, the poor unprotected – in a country already riddled with disparity.