New Delhi: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Monday expressed satisfaction that the security situation in the country was largely peaceful although there were several serious challenges to the internal security.
Addressing an august gathering of Chief Ministers, bureaucrats and intelligence officials in the national capital, the Prime Minister said, “The internal security situation in the country by and large remained satisfactory since February 2011.”
“Threat from terror, Left-wing extremism remains and needs constant vigil. We have to deal with them firmly,” PM said.
Prime Minister, while referring to situation in Jammu & Kashmir said, “In J&K, there has been a perceptible improvement in security environment.
Calling for coordinated efforts to deal with the challenge of terrorism, Dr Singh said, “Like other internal security matters, we need to work together and launch joint efforts to tackle these challenges, especially, at a time when situation in north east remains complex.
Dr Singh also stated that today, terrorist groups are nimble, more lethal than ever and increasingly networked across frontiers.
Earlier, while inaugurating the Chief Ministers' conference on internal security, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said that the internal security situation has improved significantly, although the Left-wing extremism continues to be the greatest threat to the country.
Chidambaram said, “There has been a dramatic improvement in the internal security situation in most parts of the country including J&K.”
Chidambaram, while maintaining that violence declined in 2011 be it J&K, north east or left-wing extremism-affected states, said, “The International Border in the west and LoC continue to be vulnerable to infiltration from across the border.”
The Home Minister also stated that it's a worrying trend that people jump to support terror accused because of their religion.
"The state governments are the frontline in defending the security. In J&K, peaceful tourism has also increased. 2012 will see further advancement in bringing peace. The conspiracies behind two terror attacks in 2012 have been solved. Prime suspects in recent blasts in 2012 are Indian nationals," Chidambaram said.
Expressing concerns over the rise in Naxal-related violence, the Home Minister said, “The spread of Left-wing extremism in northeastern states, especially Assam, continues to pose the greatest challenge to the country’s internal security although 18 terror modules have been neutralised in 2011 and 3 in 2012," adding, “It is beyond doubt that Assam has emerged as new theatre of Maoist groups.”
The Chief Ministers of several non-Congress states, who have opposed the Centre over its proposed anti-terror body, are attending the crucial meeting on internal, which has been convened by the Home Ministry.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee skipped today’s meet.
Although, Mamata decided to skip the meeting, state’s Finance Minister Amit Mitra is attending the meeting.
At 3 pm today, on the sidelines of Chidambaram's meeting, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and Jayalalithaa will meet at Tamil Nadu Bhawan in what is being seen as some muscle flexing. Jayalalithaa, who arrived in Delhi this morning would only say, "I can't say what we will discuss in the evening."
Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Odisha Mamata Banerjee, J Jayalalitha and Naveen Patnaik, along with a few others, had forced the Central government to convene a special meeting of CMs on May 5 to discuss the NCTC by saying the April 16 conclave on internal security would not have enough time and opportunity to discuss the controversial issue and hence a separate session was required for it.
They have been opposing the setting up of NCTC claiming the proposed anti-terror hub would infringe on the states' powers and hurt country's federal structure.
Today’s meeting will focus on strengthening counter-terrorism and intelligence capabilities and strengthening border and coastal security.
Cross-border terrorism, infiltration from across the border to Jammu and Kashmir, activities of Pakistan-based terror outfits and insurgency in the Northeast, combating economic offences, especially counterfeit currency notes, will also come up for detailed deliberations.
A separate session on Left-wing extremism will also be held which is expected to be attended by at least eight chief ministers, barring that of West Bengal.
(With PTI Inputs)
First Published: Monday, April 16, 2012, 09:13