The Union government has underlined its intention to set up the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) on the basis of the suggestions and reservations expressed at the Chief Ministers' meeting here on Saturday.
In his concluding remarks at the meeting, Home Minister P. Chidambaram categorically stated the government's resolve to set up the NCTC, while offering to re-examine thorny issues, including locating the counter-terrorism apparatus in the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
Mr. Chidambaram's concluding remarks at the Chief Ministers' meeting were released here on Sunday where he focussed on areas of convergence and those that required more examination.
He said the government would be taking a decision, stressing that not taking a decision on “a matter of such urgency did not advance the objective for which we have met today [Saturday].”
The Home Minister would deliberate on the suggestions with an open mind before taking a decision.
Referring to the “misgivings” on the powers and location of the NCTC, Mr. Chidambaram sought to clarify that not the NCTC but its operations wing was being vested with “certain powers” and that too “under exceptional circumstances.”
“The normal operations will be done by the ATS and the State police,” he said emphasising that the operational wing would act after intimation and provide information immediately.
He agreed to reflect on the issue at greater length noting that a number of Chief Ministers were not satisfied and wanted more safeguards, while others extending qualified support were not satisfied with built-in safeguards.
On the issue of location of the NCTC, Mr. Chidambaram expressed his willingness to re-examine the matter, underscoring that even those who supported the NCTC questioned its location in the IB. Underlining that his proposal in 2009 had not placed the NCTC in the IB, the Home Minister pointed out that the Group of Ministers, in its recommendation, had designated the IB as the country's nodal counter-terrorism agency.
Justifying the need to set up an NCTC or a similar organisation, Mr. Chidambaram called for the need “to move beyond looking upon counter-terrorism as a police operation and enlarge scope to make it a truly counter-terrorism organisation that will mobilise all elements of national power.”