Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday declared that naxalism, the “first enemy of the country,” would be completely rooted out in two to three years.

Addressing a public meeting at Avadi after visiting Lalgarh earlier in the day, he said naxalism had assumed gigantic proportions because it had not been dealt with properly in the last 10 to 12 years. Explaining the reasons for the huge defence outlay, Mr. Chidambaram said it was inevitable because the neighbouring countries, especially China and Pakistan, were treating India as their enemy.

“Pakistan today is training terrorists and allowing them to infiltrate into India and is trying to drive a wedge between Muslims and Hindus. Whenever we want to start talks with Pakistan, we have to inevitably talk about terrorism but Pakistan frowns upon the idea,” he said.

“Pakistan is the centre of terrorism in today's world. Whether in Afghanistan, or the United Kingdom or the United States, all terrorist activities can be traced to Pakistan,” he said.

Coming down heavily on the critics of the Women's Reservation Bill, he said if reservation could be implemented in local bodies, why not in Parliament and in State legislatures.

On Monday, an all-party meeting to discuss the Bill would be held in New Delhi. “The Congress will consult and convince other parties, and we will ensure that it is passed in the Lok Sabha at any cost,” he said. Whenever there was a historical turning point in the country, beginning with amendments to the Constitution to provide reservation, the Congress was at the helm of affairs and it would be the same this time, he said.