Rome: Asserting that countering violent extremism, and in particular terrorism, is a key global challenge of today, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said India continues to face a high degree of terrorist threats on several fronts, in particular, cross-border terrorism.
Addressing the Interpol General Assembly in Rome yesterday, Shinde said: "India continues to face a high degree of terrorist threats on several fronts, in particular of cross-border terrorism. Terrorism in South Asia has increasingly emerged as an effective strategic weapon. Terrorist groups have demonstrated that with simple tactics and low tech weapons, they can produce vastly disproportionate results as it happened in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack."
"Terrorist attacks have exacted a heavy toll of life and property. Terrorists have tried to disrupt our way of life by attempting to initiate the element of fear. Fortunately, the Indian society has time and again shown its resilience and refused to be overawed by the terrorist acts," he added.
He said India is committed to combating terrorism and extremism in all forms, and added: "India has adopted a system to counter terrorism that gives primacy to dialogue, democratic political processes and the rule of law, and we deal with terrorism within the ambit of this structure."
"Post 26/11, we have raised the level of preparedness to meet the increasingly sophisticated terrorist threats. Secondly, we have enhanced the speed and decisiveness of the response to a terrorist threat or a terrorist attack," he added
Shinde further said at the international level India has been supportive of all efforts, particularly in the UN, to combat terrorism and has played a leading role in shaping international opinion and urging the international community to prioritize the fight against terror.
"Our consistent and basic stand before the international community has been that there could be no justification for terrorism on any grounds: religious, political, ideological or any other. To be effective, the fight against terrorism had to be long term, comprehensive and sustained. Strengthening of international cooperation is vital to ensure that action is not restricted simply to the perpetrators but also encompassed States, which sponsor, support or provide safe haven to terrorists," he added.
He said international cooperation on matters relating to terrorism is also effected through the mechanism of Interpol, of which India has been a member since 1949.
"The specific dimensions of the fight against terrorism in which Interpol can be of immense value is the links of terrorism to organized crime, it``s emerging links with counterfeiting and the ability of fugitives to simply evade jurisdictions. Be it the Mumbai Bomb Blasts of 1993, the 26/11 attack in Mumbai or the 9/11 attacks in USA, the Inter State nature of planning involved in all of them underscores the need for increased cooperation and coordination amongst intelligence and investigative agencies," he said.
"It is indeed very heartening to note that a lot of progress has been made in this regard but a lot more can be done and needs to be done. It is here that I feel the International Criminal Police Organisation has to play a pivotal role," he added. (ANI)