News / Asia

    India Approves Anti-Terror Database

    In this Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 file picture, smoke billows from the landmark Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India after an attack by gunmen
    In this Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 file picture, smoke billows from the landmark Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India after an attack by gunmen
    Kurt Achin

    Senior Indian officials have cleared a hurdle for a long-awaited electronic database aimed at tracking and preventing terrorist activity.  Supporters say the National Intelligence Grid will become a crucial weapon in protecting India from attacks like the 2008 terrorist siege on the city of Mumbai.

    India's Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, gave its approval "in principle" for the creation of a proposed National Intelligence Grid.

    The project, known widely here in India simply as Natgrid, would knit together separate databases into one massive shared resource of information including items like rail and air travel records, tax returns, credit card purchases, and immigration permits.  Eleven of India's security-related agencies would be allowed to access the database to look for suspicious patterns, potentially allowing acts of terror to be prevented.

    Ajai Sahni is a counterterrorism expert and the executive director of the South Asia Terrorism Portal in New Delhi.  He says such an umbrella database is badly needed in India.

    "You cannot run a modern enforcement system, any kind of a counterterrorism program, without proper communications and databases," he said.  "You have no idea how many people are picked up and released without proper identification.  There is no database to match their profiles with."

    While networked databases are considered commonplace in the United States and other countries, India's electronic law-enforcement infrastructure is extremely limited.  Police stations in much of the country keep paper copies of records, but there is no real mechanism for different districts to share key information.

    The push for a national intelligence database gained urgency after the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008.  Many people in India believe it would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, to plan and execute the attacks so effectively if a national intelligence grid had been in place at the time.

    The project has been stalled for months, partially amid discussions aimed at ensuring the Natgrid project does not infringe on personal privacy rights.

    Although Monday's approval clears one important hurdle, counterterrorism expert Sahni says India's slow bureaucracy is likely to take a long time to execute the Natgrid project.

    "The actual implementation of the project is far, far into the future," he said.  "Unless there is a completely different orientation, they approach this thing on a war footing, I do not see any dramatic transformations in our capabilities."

    The Natgrid project is slated to be part of an organization, also yet to be formed, called the National Counterterrorism Center.  The center is to be modeled at least partially on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which coordinates and supervises the work of several other existing government agencies.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora