Advocating the need for setting up an anti-terror hub, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday 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 National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which is facing stiff opposition from non-Congress Chief Ministers, including United Progressive Alliance ally Mamata Banerjee, Mr. 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… 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.
The Home Minister said India has the obligations to the international community under the Resolutions of the Security Council to counter terror threats.
With India’s 7,516 km coastline, 15,106 km of international borders with seven countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar — and a number of international gateways, he said, State anti-terrorist forces would have to necessarily work with a number of agencies of the Central government, especially when there are threats in the domain of sea, air and space.
Highlighting a new dimension to terrorist threats, Mr. Chidambaram said hitherto, security forces have confronted terrorist threats only in the physical space but now, there are terrorist threats in the cyber space, which is the fifth domain after land, sea, air and space.
“Much of our critical infrastructure lies in cyber space. Cyber crimes such as hacking, financial fraud, data theft, espionage etc. would, in certain circumstances, amount to terrorist acts.
“Our counter-terrorism capacity must be able to meet the threats in cyber space. Since there are no boundaries in cyber space, how will the Central government and the State governments share the responsibility to face the threats in cyber space?” he asked.
The Home Minister also referred to the experience and benefits received by other countries, including the United States, through their counter-terror bodies.