India to discuss security challenges with state governments

April 13th, 2012 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) The central government will meet all state chief ministers Monday to discuss internal security challenges and measures to tackle them, particularly the threats posed by terrorism and Left-wing extremism.

The meeting of state chief ministers, to be inaugurated here by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will focus on strengthening counter-terrorism measures, intelligence capabilities and policing, besides boosting the border and coastal security, according to home ministry officials.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who has been aggressively following with state governments the issue of police reforms and encouraging beat policing, will deliver the opening address to the chief ministers.

Sources citing excerpts of the home minister’s address said Chidambaram will seek greater cooperation from state governments in tackling terror, particularly preempting it with better intelligence-sharing mechanism.

This comes particularly in the backdrop of severe opposition to his pet project, the formation of National Counter Terrorism Centre, from non-Congress ruled states, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee whose Trinamool Congress is part of the ruling coalition in New Delhi.

However, the issue of NCTC, an all-powerful anti-terror intelligence hub to function under the home ministry, is unlikely to figure during the day-long meet because the matter is to be discussed at a separate but similar May 5 meeting with the prime minister.

The NCTC that draws its powers from the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been hanging in balance because at least a dozen chief ministers have opposed the idea, fearing the agency will infringe on their rights and disturb the federal structure of the country.

The sources said activities of Pakistan-based terror outfits and insurgency in the northeast, combating economic offences, especially counterfeit currency notes, would be discussed at length during the Monday meeting.

The other issues to come under the scanner include the information collection system — both technical and human intelligence, its proper sharing and necessary action, procurement of arms and ammunition, filling up of vacancies in police forces besides providing training to security forces.

Chidambaram has been saying that the situation of vacant posts in police is “quite alarming” and has asked state governments to fill them up fast as he says it is key to fighting internal security challenges in the country.

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