NCTC not a Centre vs states battle, says PM
Defending the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said that the issue of the establishment of the NCTC is not a state versus Centre issue.
Dr Singh said this while chairing the meeting on NCTC in New Delhi. The meet with chief ministers will discuss issues related to strengthening of counter terrorism capabilities and NCTC. Various concerns raised by the state governments on NCTC will also be taken up and allayed at the daylong deliberations.
"It is my hope that as a result of your discussions today, we will make further progress in improving our counter-terrorism architecture. The closest cooperation and coordination is necessary to meet the threats that emanate from within and outside our borders," he said.
Dr Singh said that the NCTC should be a vehicle of the Centre and the states combined efforts to reach the shared goal of curbing terrorism and eradicating militancy.
"We remain open to the suggestions of chief ministers. We would like to benefit from their knowledge, wisdom and experience. The NCTC mechanism will give states ability to see the bigger picture of terrorist threats and enhance their counter terrorism capability," he said.
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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
'Terrorists do not recognise boundaries of states'
Advocating the need for setting up anti-terror hub NCTC, Home Minister P Chidambaram also said terrorists do not recognise boundaries and the Centre and state governments have to work together to make the country safe and secure.
Addressing the chief ministers' conference on the proposed NCTC, Chidambaram said terrorists do not recognise boundaries of countries or states and terrorist threats are taking new dimension going beyond the physical space.
"We have to work together. Working together -- state governments and the central government working together, the opposition and the treasury working together, civil society organisations and government institutions working together -- I am confident we can make the country more safe and more secure," he said.
The home minister said the NCTC will be an important pillar of new security architecture considering the fact that under the Constitution, countering terrorism is a shared responsibility of the central government and the state governments.
"That terrorists do not recognise boundaries between countries or boundaries between states belonging to a country; That many terrorist organisations have foot prints in several countries and have the capacity to commit terrorist acts across borders or boundaries; that human resources alone are not sufficient to counter terrorism; technology is the key weapon in this conflict," he said.
Image: Home Minister P Chidambaram
Mamata frontrunner among CMs to oppose NCTC
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is among the front-runners to oppose the anti-terror agency despite being a ruling partner of the United Progressive Alliance.
The chief ministers of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance-ruled states have also opposed the NCTC.
The main task of the NCTC would be to ensure that a wide variety of security organisations in the country work in tandem, at least on issues related to terrorism.
It will also have the power to seek information, including documents, reports, transcripts, and cyber information from any agency, including from the Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, National Technical Research Organisation, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and all seven central armed police forces including the National Security Guard.
The body, which will function under the Intelligence Bureau, would be given its own operational wing with powers to arrest and conduct searches under Section 43A of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Image: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee