Terror groups have forged alliances against India
Terror groups have forged alliances against India: Home Minister
India is as vulnerable to a terror attack today as it was a few months ago because terrorist groups have forged alliances against the country, Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Wednesday.
"We are as vulnerable today, as we were a few months ago. Groups like LeT are now coordinating their action. One of these groups appears to have forged ties with Al-Qaeda," he said in the Rajya Sabha.
Without naming Pakistan, Chidambaram said even while there has not been any terrorist attack in the last one year, the country cannot lower its guard because "our adversary has not changed its attitude..."
Replying to a debate on the internal security, he said the epicentre of the cross border terrorism is the junction point of Afghanistan and Pakistan and since India is in the region, "we are vulnerable".
Referring to insurgency in the North East, the Home Minister said ULFA is likely to make a political statement in the next few days and the government is ready to talk to them.
"ULFA is in disarray today. In next few days, the ULFA leadership will make a political statement. Our government is prepared to talk to ULFA provided they abjure violence and there is no demand for sovereignty," he said.
Chidambaram, who deals with terrorism "24 hours a day", said the government policy would be zero tolerance towards the Jihadi or Hindu militants.
As for cross-border threat, he said, "Our security forces have the capacity to prevent any terror attack. God forbid, should there be any terrorist attack, our response will be swift and decisive."
He said over a dozen attempts have been foiled. "While terrorist and insurgents choose the time to attack and they have to be lucky just once to succeed, we have to be Lucky every time to foil these things".
The Home Minister said like the US has been Lucky not to face any more terrorist attack after 9/11 in 2001, India too has been fortunate not to see it in the last 12 months. "Luck plays a great role...In the last 12 months I have been reasonably lucky."
He said the central government has a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism "be it Jihadi or Hindu militancy...both are terrorism".
After BJP objected to his statement of "Hindu militancy", Chidambaram said whether it is Islamic terrorist or Hindu militancy, there has to be zero tolerance.
On situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Chidambaram said the Centre is willing to take "what appears to be a risky step" of withdrawing security forces and hand over law and order to the state police.
"I would take what appears to be a risky step of withdrawing a significant number of battalions of security forces in J and K. We are now transferring more and more law and order (duties) to J and K police," he said.
Chidambaram said people must have faith that the nation can defend itself. "In the last one year the capacity and confidence have been built among security forces," he said. The Centre is working in coordination with states to fill vacancies in the police force.
On dealing with Left extremists, Chidambaram said the country and Parliament have to decide whether the violence followed by the Maoists can be supported.
Quoting CPI(Maoist) politburo resolution of June 2 this year, the Home Minister said it showed that naxalites do not believe in Parliamentary system but in armed struggle and treat the state as enemy.
"I never used the word enemy to describe Naxals...we are not at war with Naxals or tribal people," he said. "Is it not time to stand up and make a choice," he asked members of all the parties in the House.
He rapped civil societies comprising former judges, journalists, lawyers and other intellectuals for supporting the cause of naxalites. Referring to the point made by several opposition members and also the civil societies that development is the answer to the problem, the Home Minister said this can happen only when civil administration is established in areas taken over by Maoists.
Chidambaram said the Centre's priority is to coordinate with the state governments to reclaim areas under Naxal control as was done in Lalgarh in West Bengal.
He said the Maoists were told to abjure violence without laying arms. "I said abjure violence.... give me 72 hours to respond. I will consult Prime Minister and Chief Ministers. But their answer was abjuring violence is not on their agenda and they believe in armed struggle," he said.
The Home Minister regretted that incidents of beheading people, whom they consider police informers and blowing up of schools continued.
Regarding government's approach towards tackling terrorism, insurgency and naxalism, Chidambaram said, "We need to approach the issue in a hard-headed manner not hard-hearted manner. UPA is adopting practical and realistic policies to deal with various internal security problems."
Chidambaram said intelligence has been revamped across the country as a result of which no terrorists attack or communal riot took place in last one year.
On insurgency in the North East, Chidambaram said, "All but three states in the North East are entirely peaceful... Our problems are in Assam and Manipur. Manipur is a cause for worry. I intend to pay greater attention to it."
In Nagaland, there is some uneasy truce. Both factions of NSCN are being pursued to come to the negotiation table. Killings have stopped. In Assam an interlocutor is talking to four groups. Leadership of Dima Halam Daoga (DHD) has been virtually neutralised and NDFB is coming forward for talks, he added.