Country cannot afford more terror attacks: PM (Lead)

November 23rd, 2008 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said the country could not afford to have a “repetition of the kind of terrorist attacks” as witnessed recently and it was imperative to improve the intelligence machinery and undertake police reforms to be able to deal with such threats. “I only wish to emphasise here that time is not on our side. We cannot afford a repetition of the kind of terrorist attacks that have recently taken place in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Guwahati and some other urban centres,” the prime minister said while addressing the country’s top police brass at their annual conference.

“Every time a terrorist attack takes place there is a public outcry over the failure of the government, accompanied by criticism of the police and the intelligence agencies.”

“I am aware that many terrorist attacks have been prevented, thanks to the vigil of the police and intelligence agencies, but a single incident of reasonable magnitude causes repercussions, and calls into question the capability and the capacity of the government and its various agencies.”

According to home ministry figures, the country has been rocked by 64 bomb blasts in less than six months this year leaving more than 215 dead and over 900 injured.

Referring to the globalisation of terror that had made terrorism an all-encompassing danger, the prime minister said police forces should anticipate that the scale of such terrorist incidents would only grow in the future and become a major test of our capabilities.

“You must therefore be prepared for such an eventuality.”

He also pointed out that new-age terror had produced a whole new range of interactive risks, especially in the sphere of security that had led to the distinction between external and internal threats being blurred.

“The current international financial crisis is a good index of the interactive nature of today’s globalised world. Likewise, in the realm of security, globalisation has produced a whole new range of interactive threats and risks,” the prime minister said.

“Globalisation has also led to a blurring of the distinction between external and internal threats,” he said at the conference of director generals of police (DGP) and inspector generals of police (IGP).

The prime minister said the advent of many non-state actors had greatly increased India’s vulnerabilities.

“Terrorism is now recognised as the main scourge of the modern world. Today’s terrorists - whether they be non-state actors or others - use modern communications and exploit cyber space to carry out their disruptive activities.”

He exhorted the police chiefs to improve techniques needed for fighting new age terror and also stressed the importance of “sprucing up the intelligence machinery” by proper staffing.

He said these reforms must be undertaken at a war footing.

In addition to new age terror, which the prime minister dwelt on extensively, Manmohan Singh also mentioned the new danger posed by the spread of fundamentalist and extremist forces but made no direct mention of the sectarian riots to have rocked Orissa, Karnataka, Assam and Mahrashtra in the last few months.

“We have, of late, been witnessing the emergence of such pernicious tendencies and trends, and there are elements in our society who are actively pursuing such programmes.”

“The virus of communal violence that threatens the secular fabric of our society needs to be checked and checked effectively in time, otherwise our multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-caste society could well unravel.”

“This cannot be done by the police and law and order agencies alone, but the police are often the first responders and have, hence, a critical role to play.”

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