WASHINGTON, DC – Ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit to the United States, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center announces the release of a white paper entitled Resilient Megacities: Strategy, Security, and Sustainability. Informed by the Atlantic Council’s Megacity Security Conference held in partnership with the US Consulate in Mumbai at the Taj Mahal Hotel—the site of the horrific 2008 attacks—the paper calls for increased international cooperation and emphasizes the constructive role that the US-India partnership on homeland security plays in safeguarding some of the world’s largest cities.

On Friday, June 10, the white paper will be officially launched at a public event on “Securing Megacities in the Twenty-First Century” featuring Atlantic Council Chairman Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., and Tom Ridge, the first secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security.

“Megacities have become crucial in shaping the current and future global stage and forging new forms of problem solving and management,” said Atlantic Council Chairman Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. at the Atlantic Council’s Megacity Security Conference. “As megacities grow in size and number, with the six largest megacities now located in Asia, they have become sources of innovation and economic expansion, but also security threats and logistical challenges…these same densely populated regions have also become susceptible to resource shortages, congestion and overcrowding and potentially catastrophic terror attacks.” 

South Asia is especially vulnerable to increasing strains on urban communities. Five of the world’s largest megacities are located in South Asia; three of these—New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata—are located in India. As starkly evidenced in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, security is a paramount concern for megacity governments. The discussants will address how governments can confront security threats with innovative solutions for this unprecedented challenge. As noted in the white paper:

Recent attacks in megacities such as Mumbai and Istanbul, and in large cities such as Brussels, Lahore, Paris, Boston, and Nairobi vividly illustrate the security challenges that cities face in the twenty-first century. The threat that terrorism poses today is a challenge that confounds all conventional approaches to national security. In order to adequately confront the threats megacities face, local public sector, private sector, and civil society actors must engage in counterterrorism strategizing through coordinated and multilateral approaches with international partners.

The discussion will offer insights into how to police, govern, and secure megacities to ensure economic growth and sustainability for megacities across the world.