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Government admits intel gaps, to set up federal agency
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
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December 11, 2008 11:41 IST
Last Updated: December 11, 2008 13:01 IST

Admitting that there were gaps in the intelligence set up, the government on Thursday said it will take steps, including strengthening laws and setting up a National Investigation Agency to insulate the country from terror strikes like in Mumbai.

In a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister P Chidambaram said the government has decided to set up a Coastal Command to secure India's 7,500-km coastline and create National Security Guard hubs in various parts of the country as part of measures to make the protective system more effective. He said three anti-terrorism schools and special commando units would be raised.

He said the government proposes to bring a set of Bills to strengthen the legal provisions relating to the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of terror acts.

The government was in the process of consulting political parties in this regard. "I would urge this House to consider and pass these bills in this session," Chidambaram said.

An identical statement was made by Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal in the Rajya Sabha.

"Intelligence gathering requires human resources and technical resources. We have identified the gaps," Chidambaram said.

Considering the significance of the issue, both the Houses set aside the Question Hour and took up discussion on Mumbai terror attacks [Images].

Commenting on the intelligence machinery, Chidambaram said: "We have a number of intelligence gathering agencies. Intelligence is shared, evaluated and acted upon. However, I have found that there is a tendency to treat some intelligence inputs that are not specific or precise as not actionable intelligence."

He said the responsibility for acting upon intelligence inputs is quite diffused.

"While the basic structure seems sound, there is a need to make intelligence gathering and intelligence sharing more effective and result-oriented," he said adding, some changes have already been made and more were underway.

Referring to the Mumbai attacks, he said intelligence regarding a suspected Lashkar-e-Tayiba vessel attempting to infiltrate through the sea route was shared with the director-general of the Coast Guard and the principal director of Naval Intelligence.

"The Coast Guard made a serious effort, including deploying vessels and aircraft to locate the suspect vessel, but was not successful," he said.

He said the Navy found that the co-ordinates of the vessel placed it well within the territorial waters of Pakistan.

"The Navy had committed several surface units and aircraft in the zone during the period November 19-20. In the absence of further inputs or information from the agencies concerned, the Navy concluded that no further action could be taken on the basis of available information," he said.

Chidambaram also paid tributes to those who laid down their lives in order to save others.

He made special mention of policeman Tukaram Ombale who helped capture the lone surviving terrorist despite being hit by multiple bullets.

With PTI inputs

Also Read: Terror Attack on Mumbai

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