New Delhi: Home
Minister P. Chidambaram Saturday strongly defended his pet
project, the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which he
said would be an "important pillar" of the country's security
In a bid to dispel fears of some chief ministers that the proposed
anti-terror intelligence hub would infringe on their policing
domain, the home minister stressed that countering terrorism "is a
shared responsibility" of central and state governments.
"I wish to assure you and the people of India that counter
terrorism is a shared responsibility. That is what the
constitution says, that is the practical and prudent way forward,"
Chidambaram said in his address to chief ministers here on the
controversial NCTC, whose formation has been put on hold following
vehement opposition from non-Congress ruled states.
Chidambaram said the government in collaboration with states had
neutralised 21 terror modules in the past one year but there were
cases related to "jihadi' terrorists" and Maoists, where, despite
inputs regarding the presence of terrorists, the security agencies
did not act "either due to lack of capacity or lack of a timely
"What should the central government do in such cases?" he asked,
and stressed that the NCTC "will be an important pillar of the new
security architecture" of India that will enhance the counter
terror capabilities of states as well as the central government.
Chidambaram said the anti-terror agency was based on models of the
NCTC in the US that has the mandate to conduct counter terrorism
operations involving all elements of national power.
"There are also the FBI and the Secret Service with nationwide
jurisdiction. In Germany, there is the GTAZ (Joint Counter
Terrorism Centre) and the GIZ (Joint Internet Surveillance
The minister said: "When the state governments build more capacity
and inter-state cooperation becomes more effective, I suppose the
central government can - and will - step back."
Till then, he said, "We have to work together. I am confident we
can make the country more safe and more secure."
Chidamabaram said the NCTC was needed because "terrorists do not
recognise boundaries between countries or boundaries between
states belonging to a country and that human resources alone are
not sufficient to counter terrorism. Technology is the key weapon
in this conflict.
"Given India's 7,516 km coastline, 15,106 km of international
borders with seven countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal,
Bhutan, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar) and a number of
international gateways, state anti-terrorist forces would have to
necessarily work with a number of agencies of the central
government, especially when there are threats in the domain of
sea, air and space," he said.
He said terrorist threats in the cyber space lies where "our
critical infrastructure lies in cyber space" in a new threat.
"Our counter terrorism capacity must be able to meet the threats
in cyber space. Since there are no boundaries in cyber space, how
will the central government and the state governments share the
responsibility to face the threats in cyber space?"