Expressing concern over increase in infiltration attempts, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday that the Centre and the states should launch coordinated efforts to tackle internal security threats.
Addressing the Chief Ministers' Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi, the Prime Minister said hostile groups and elements operate from across the border to perpetrate terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir faces the brunt of this. Identifying left-wing extremism, cross-border terrorism and insurgency, besides attempts to flare up communal tension as challenges for internal security, he said the states and the Centre should work together to tackle such threats.
Singh said fake Indian currency notes are being printed and smuggled from across the border which need to be tackled with coordinated efforts and recommended the states to set up nodal agencies for investigating seizure of counterfeit
currency. The prime minister also reaffirmed his earlier stand that left-wing extremism remains the gravest threat to internal
Earlier, Home Minister P Chidamabaram made a strong pitch for strengthening state police forces, especially the intelligence cells and specialised units, to tackle any terror threat. The prime minister said, "Hostile groups and elements
operate from across the border to perpetrate terrorist acts in the country. The state of Jammu and Kashmir bears the brunt of
the acts of these groups. "There is insurgency and violence in the North-East. Many states are affected by leftwing extremism, which I have in the past referred to as the greatest threat to our internal security. There are also those trying to divide our society on communal and regional lines," Singh said.
He said to tackle each one of these threats, hard work, determination and continuous vigilance are required.The prime minister said though there has been a marked decline in the number of terrorist incidents from 2008 to 2009 in Jammu and Kashmir, infiltration levels have shown an increase in the same period and "recently there have been some incidents which are disturbing."
He said in the North-East, the number of incidents had gone down in 2009 as compared to 2008, except in Assam and
Arunachal Pradesh. "The number of incidents related to left-wing extremism has, however, increased in the same period, as has the number of civilians and security personnel killed in these incidents. "This is worrisome. The leftwing extremists continue to target vital installations and kill innocent civilians," he said, asking the Chief Ministers to try to find ways of
jointly fighting the menace during the conference.
The Prime Minister said the response to leftwing extremism must be calibrated to avoid alienating the people,especially those in tribal areas. "It must also go hand-in-hand with social and economic development of areas affected by leftwing extremism, bringing them into the mainstream of national progress. Tribal communities should get full benefit of our schemes and programmes. This is only possible by improving service delivery in tribal-dominated areas," he said.
Singh said he expected the states to make "fullest possible use" of the National Investigation Agency so that thefight against terrorism can be a forceful and a united one. He said many issues in today's world require a response that is coordinated not only between the affected states but also between the Centre and the states."Internal security is certainly one such issue, and for that matter a critical one which affects the pace of our growth and development," he said.
Singh asked the Chief Ministers to create special intervention units in their states to enhance the speed and decisiveness of the quick response teams.He also suggested development of specialised commando forces in states, which could be deployed to act as a deterrent to terrorist designs.
"I would also urge you to make full use of the scheme formulated by the Central government to assist the special branches of states in strengthening their capabilities," he said.
The Prime Minister also appealed to the Chief Ministers to take expeditious steps to fill up about 3.94 lakh vacancies in the sanctioned police posts, which constituted about 20 per cent of the total sanctioned strength.
He also said the states should increase the proportion of the budget earmarked for police infrastructure and training. "We have a hard task ahead but one that can be achieved with determination and coordinated action. As we deliberate upon the serious issues that constitute the agenda of this Conference, it will be in a spirit of strengthening each others' hands.
"We will only succeed if we are united in addressing the concerns related to our internal security," Singh said. He said while the government has made progress on different fronts, "we are also aware that the Central Government has much more to do."