On a visit here, Home Minister P Chidambaram had a first-hand experience of how the US’ financial capital, which is on the terror radar, is protected by security agencies from terrorist attacks.
Mr. Chidambaram, who arrived here on the first leg of his four-day US visit on Tuesday, was briefed by officials from FBI, intelligence and security agencies and New York Police about the measures being taken by them to prevent any Mumbai-type terrorist attacks.
From walking at the Penn Station, which handles thousands of train passengers every day, to a briefing by the New York Police, which had made several changes in its counter-terrorism measures post-26/11 attacks, Mr. Chidambaram and his team of officials got to know how a mega city like New York could be protected from terrorists without causing much inconvenience to its residents.
Mr. Chidambaram was also told about the coast guard facility at State Island. It was an important aspect of his trip given that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26 last year entered Mumbai through the sea route.
Coastal security is now considered an integral part of New York’s counter-terrorism mechanism.
Within hours of his landing in Big Apple, Mr. Chidambaram was at the Joint Terror Task Force Centre of the FBI in New York, where he was given an exclusive briefing by the New York Police Department on the steps being taken by them to protect the city.
Before Mr. Chidambaram left New York by train for Washington, he was briefed about the security of the Mass Transport System at the Penn station as security officials went through the procedure of random frisking and searching of passengers.
In Washington, Mr. Chidambaram will meet with top officials of the Obama Administration, heads of intelligence and security agencies and influential lawmakers over the next three days.
The visit is aimed at carrying forward the dialogue with US with regard to assessment of the security situation in South Asia, understanding the counter-terrorism institutions and structures in US as well as meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senior officials.
The visit is also significant in the context of India’s continued appeal to the international community to exert pressure on Pakistan to take firm action towards dismantling of the terror infrastructure in that country as well as prosecution of all accused in the Mumbai attacks who are now in Pakistan.
Mr. Chidambaram will also be discussing issues related to combating financing of terrorism and steps which will need to be taken in this regard as well as with regard to prevention of money laundering