Posts Tagged India

India: Topsgrup Showing An Appetite For Risk

TOPSGRUP is a leading ISO 9001:2008 certified, Total Security Solutions group offering bespoke security and safety solutions to thousands of delighted customers across the world and employs over 93,000 trained human capital assets. TOPSGRUP offers a holistic approach to mitigating enterprise continuity risks across India and the United Kingdom and has ambitious plans of expanding to other corners of the world including Australia, Asia, China, Africa, Europe and USA. TOPSGRUP operates out of 120 offices around the world and is globally headquartered in London, United Kingdom. -from their brochure.


This is a great article on a company making some moves in the world of security. India’s Topsgrup is definitely growing, and ever since the Mumbai attack, private security has been a boom over there. For some background on the company, here is an older ‘company spotlight’ post that I did on them. -Matt

 

India’s Topsgrup: appetite for risk
November 23, 2012
by Neil Munshi
Not every company would be happy to have a prominent right-wing extremist on its roster of clients. But for Topsgrup, India’s largest private security company, Bal Thackeray – leader of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena political party and one of the most powerful men in Mumbai before he died this month – was just an ordinary Joe.
Thackeray, a man who in life – and, it turned out, in death – could pack the streets with fanatical multitudes at short notice, entrusted his travel in his waning days to ambulances provided by Topsgrup.
He was one among the company’s 8,000 private and corporate clients, which include other leaders of India’s elite and many of its biggest companies such as the Tata Group, ICICI Bank and the Times of India. Topsgrup also provides security at events including Indian Premiere League cricket matches. In July, it completed a £19.5m acquisition of the Shield Guarding Company of the UK, in which it bought a 51 per cent stake in 2008.

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Maritime Security: Piracy Plunges As More Ships Start Carrying Armed Guards

“In 2011, the numbers of private armed security teams went up significantly and that has been a big game-changer as well, though not the only factor,” Olive said. “If that pressure is taken off it can all start to be unpicked relatively rapidly,” he added, referring to industry and military measures to combat piracy.

It’s nice to see some recognition going towards the efforts of armed security out there. They have been a ‘big game-changer’ and the statistics speak for themselves.

Although one looming iceberg that can really mangle the record of private armed guards are shootings that result in innocent people being killed. I have to imagine that we will see private maritime security industry involved in such a thing, and an example of how that might turn out can be seen with the shooting accident that happened last February between some Italian Marine vessel protection guards and an Indian fishing vessel.

In that accident, one innocent person was killed, and it is the type of deal that has been all over the news in both India and Italy. This kind of international incident would literally destroy a security company and absolutely embarrass the client. But it would also be the kind of incident that would put some extreme negative attention on the maritime security industry as a whole. The question is how do you prevent something like that from happening, and can you?

Logically speaking, it is bound to happen. So the prudent thing for companies is to actually prepare your legal strategic defense for such an event. To study how this specific event between the Italians and Indians, and learn from it to get a good game plan together. Of course you always want to refine your rules of engagement and enforce it with training and good management/leadership, but in the realm of combat, unfortunate things happen and companies must be prepared.

One final point is the use of the Letter of Marque (LoM) or a similar licensing system. This could be used as a form of protection for those armed guards on the high seas. If the ship’s captain carries a LoM for that vessel, issued by the same state the vessel is flagged under, then in that case the state can identify through that license what they are legally willing to support when it comes to the defense of that vessel. Under the terms of the LoM, you can list all sorts of requirements of the vessel’s protection team, and you can write up legal protections for that team and vessel.

The main point of this type of LoM is to get the state back into the game of regulating armed force on these vessels and provide some kind of legal protections and accountability. If states are willing to put their flag on a vessel, then why not go the whole way and allow them to issue a LoM or similar license for this kind of ‘warfare on the high seas’? -Matt

 

Piracy plunges as more ships start carrying armed guards
November 30, 2012
By Michelle Wiese Bockmann
Pirate attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean fell 81 per cent this year as the use of armed security guards on ships acted as a “game-changer,” according to the European Union’s naval force.
There were 34 attacks by Somali pirates, with five vessels hijacked so far in 2012, compared to a record 176 assaults in the whole of last year that resulted in 25 ships seized for ransom, according to Peter Olive, the EU Naval Force’s chief of staff.
Ransom payments to Somali pirates totaled $36 million so far this year, compared with $147 million last year, he said Thursday at a briefing at the EU’s naval force headquarters at Northwood, England. As well as more aggressive military operations, the increasing deployment of private guards over the last 18 months on vessels transiting high-risk areas contributed to the declines, Olive said.
“In 2011, the numbers of private armed security teams went up significantly and that has been a big game-changer as well, though not the only factor,” Olive said. “If that pressure is taken off it can all start to be unpicked relatively rapidly,” he added, referring to industry and military measures to combat piracy.

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Bounties: US Offers $10 Million Bounty For 2008 Mumbai Terrorist– Haviz Mohammad Saeed

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday the bounty on Saeed is about “justice being done” and that there should be no impunity for those who kill Americans overseas. She emphasized that the reward was not just for information leading to Saeed’s arrest, but also for information leading to his conviction.

Man, let’s get this guy. This is also a great way to snub Pakistan (again, because they deserve it for hiding Bin Laden all of these years and supporting the Taliban) and show some support for India (who does deserve our support and would tick off Pakistan), by helping to nab this guy.  He has been pretty open in Pakistan and so he shouldn’t be hard to find.

What is key with this bounty though, is that the US wants information that will lead to his location and arrest/conviction. So you might be able to locate him, but in order to get the full amount, I think we want a little bit more. I would say information leading to arrest and conviction would be far more valuable in this deal and would probably give that tipster the full amount.

But of course this whole bounty program is a contradiction in terms. By all intents and purposes, this is a bounty.  According to the Rewards for Justice FAQ, bounty hunting is not prohibited with this deal though. So could a company find the guy and get all of the juice on him, and then find some random person to be the ‘lone individual’ to report the whole thing?  I don’t get that.

By offering a reward, aren’t you encouraging bounty hunters?

We strongly discourage bounty hunters and other non-government individuals from pursuing the capture of terrorists; instead, RFJ provides rewards for information that will enable appropriate government authorities to locate and apprehend such individuals.

To me, the DoS should be up front and purposeful about promoting bounty hunting. It is a form of offense industry that if properly constructed, will definitely produce results. At this time, their Rewards For Justice program is terribly inefficient and poorly set up.

They should be reaching out to all and any parties/groups/individuals/companies, and providing a set of rules and licenses in order for them to do what they need to do to find these folks. Issue a Letter of Marque and Reprisal–with an emphasis on ‘reprisal’ and tell these folks to get bonded, and then let them hunt. Matter of fact, let hundreds of groups go hunting, all being innovative and motivated, and turn ol’ Haviz Mohammad Saeed and others like him into a prize. But that would first require the DoS and governments to stop demonizing bounty hunters and utility….. -Matt

 

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the leader of a banned Islamic group Jamaat-ud-Dawa is seen during an anti-Indian rally to show solidarity with Indian Kashmiris, in Lahore, Pakistan, February 5, 2010.

 

Wanted : Information leading to the arrest and conviction of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed –Up to $10 Million
Place of Birth : Sargodha, Punjab Province, Pakistan
Date of Birth : 06/05/1950
Sex : Male
Hair : Red
Eyes : Brown
Nationality : Pakistani
Citizenship : Pakistan
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is a former professor of Arabic and Engineering, as well as the founding member of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a radical Deobandi Islamist organization dedicated to installing Islamist rule over parts of India and Pakistan, and its military branch, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. Saeed is suspected of masterminding numerous terrorist attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which resulted in the deaths of 166 people, including six American citizens.
The Republic of India has issued an Interpol Red Corner Notice against Saeed for his role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Additionally, the United States Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated National under Executive Order 13224.
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in December 2001. In April 2008, the United States designated Jamaat-ud-Dawa as a Foreign Terrorist Organization; similarly, the United Nations declared Jamaat-ud-Dawa a terrorist organization in December 2008.
Link to Rewards for Justice bounty here.
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US Offers $10 Million Bounty for 2008 Mumbai Terror Suspect
April 03, 2012
The United States is offering a bounty of up to $10 million for the Pakistani man accused of masterminding the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.?The State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” website on late Monday announced the reward for information leading to Hafiz Mohammad Saeed’s capture and conviction. The reward is the second highest bounty offered by the U.S.

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Maritime Security: Ministry Of Shipping–Indian Ship Owners Are Now Allowed To Contract With Private Security Companies

This is surprising, because from what I can tell, Indian ship owners are able to contract with whatever PSC they want. Which means Indian ship owners could tap into the already vibrant maritime security market. This is great news if true. I posted the guidelines in my Scribd if anyone is curious, and I could not find anything in them that said these PSC’s had to be Indian owned.

A couple of months back I posted a deal about the Indian government warming up to the idea of allowing their ship owners to use armed guards. But I got the impression in that article that they would only allow retired Indian naval officers to work on these vessels? Now I am sure Indian shipping companies would probably prefer contracting with Indian PSC’s, but hopefully with these new guidelines, this will help them to realize they have a choice–that’s if they would like to go outside of the market of Indian PSC’s.-Matt

 

Ships with Indian crew can have armed guards
Aug 30 2011
The ministry of shipping on Monday issued guidelines allowing ships with Indian crew to deploy armed guards in a bid to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The move comes on the back of recommendations from the inter-ministerial group (IMG) of officers constituted to handle the hostage situation on hijacked ships and also suggest preventive measures.
It has been found that about 35 per cent of the ship transiting in these waters deploy armed security guards and that the pirates generally don’t attack ships with armed guards on board, an official release said on Monday. So far, 120 Somalian pirates have been apprehended by India as on date.
As per the new guidelines, ship owners are allowed to engage private maritime security companies (PMSC) through a proper selection procedure. In line with these, all Indian ships visiting Indian ports are to furnish details of security personnel on board, the firearms carried by them and the details of licence issued, etc, to the port authority, customs, Coast Guard and the Navy. Foreign merchant vessels visiting Indian ports with security guards are also required to follow similar procedure, as per the guidelines.

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Industry Talk: Indian PSC’s To Shop For Arms With Government Approval

The AK-47 kind of weapons — automatic and semi-automatic — are still out of bounds for the private agencies. The government fears misuse of sophisticated weapons.
“But there are other weapons: pistols, revolvers and other rifles that we can buy once the changes come into effect,” said Kunwar Vikram Singh, chairman of Central Association of Private Security Industry.
He anticipates a demand for about 12,000 gunmen for the cash and transit business — transferring cash by financial institutions to ATMS or bank branches alone.

This is another bit of news from around the world about the PSC market in India. This is great news that they are finally allowing companies to legally buy firearms so guards have a means to defend property, clients, and self. But my question is what took you guys so long? Especially with all of the high profile attacks that India has suffered, you would have thought that this would have been a no brainer awhile back?

The other thing that gets me with this, is the limitation on the types of weapons.  Shotguns and pistols are a nice start, but the enemies of India carry AK-47′s and various other high power modern fire arms. To me, you must at least match or exceed the firepower of your potential threats. If the terrorists in the Mumbai attack were all carrying AK-47′s, then maybe that might be a clue?

This news might also impact the shipping security dilemma that India is trying to overcome. That getting armed guards on boats is a logical step for the security of vessels. But like I mentioned up top, shotguns and pistols are no match against an extremely desperate criminal armed with AK’s, PKM’s, and RPG’s.

My last thoughts on this is that world wide, security for cash transits is going to be big. There is so much financial instability right now, and the global economic woes will produce an increase in crime. So PSC’s will be pretty active in cash transits and other financial related security services, as we see things get worse. This will be particularly true as certain regions are no longer able to pay for sufficient police forces, and unemployment rates are high. If you look at places like Mexico, PSC’s are definitely on the rise. -Matt

 

Pvt security firms to shop for arms?
Aloke Tikku
August 08, 2011
The government is set to allow private security agencies to buy firearms and arm guards to protect high-value assets.
The move comes more than two years after the 26/11 attacks that prompted companies such as software major Infosys to seek permission for guards with automated weapons.
The home ministry’s proposal to allow state governments to issue bulk arms licences to registered private agencies was in final stages, sources said.
In the absence of such a provision, security companies depend on individuals with licensed firearm. This is illegal but the police look the other way as they can’t fill the vacuum.

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Afghanistan: Government Is Building A 7,000-man Security Force For Hajigak Mining Contracts

“The companies (at Hajigak) need to be secure and the Afghan government is making all arrangements. Security at the work camps, the steel plant, movement of men and materials, everything will be taken care of by the government of Afghanistan. We will permanently locate 1,500 persons of the Afghan National Police at Hajigak.”
In case the contractor wants to bring in their own security, like for an “inner ring” as the Chinese have done, Shahrani says Kabul will be “flexible”.

Now this is interesting. So I am wondering how the Afghan government plans to fight the insurgency, and build a security force for these mines?  I thought we were training the police to actually ‘police’ in Afghanistan, and not be security guards for these mines? -Matt

Foreign companies fund private army: The Afghan Government is building up a 7,000-man privately funded militia to protect the country’s mining industry as it struggles to attract foreign investment while battling against a bloody insurgency. The Mining Protection Force will be funded entirely by foreign companies through licences they buy to develop iron, gold and copper mining projects.
Story here.

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New Afghanistan mining projects create opportunity for India
By Ajai Shukla
June 07, 2011
The new Great Game for the rights to mine Afghanistan’s enormous mineral wealth is gathering momentum. With the global mining industry, and especially Indian mining majors, already focused on the unfolding competition for the massive Hajigak iron-ore mine, Afghanistan has announced five potentially lucrative mines.
Speaking exclusively to Business Standard in Kabul, Afghanistan’s Minister for Mines Wahidullah Shahrani revealed, “After Hajigak, in July this year, I will put five major projects on tender: three copper and two gold deposits and, in February 2012, I will put a huge oil basin in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif on tender.”
Immediate attention, though, is focused on the tender for Hajigak, a two-billion-tonne deposit of high-grade iron ore in the central province of Bamiyan, for which bids are required to be submitted by August 3. Shahrani said the winner of the Hajigak contract would be finalised by October.

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