K.V. Prasad

“Should there be a 26/11-like attack, our response will be swift and decisive”

‘No war against Maoists or tribals; intention is to restore civil administration”

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday said the threat of attacks from terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba to India remained. This observation comes amid reports that one of these groups may now have forged links with the Al-Qaeeda.

Emphasising that the government was on the vigil and had asked all State governments to remain alert, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said a year after the 26/11 attacks the security forces were confident of preventing a similar attack.

Replying to a debate on internal security in the Rajya Sabha, he said that during the last one year the focus was on building capacity, competence of the security forces and increasing their confidence to take on the challenge.

At the same time much more was required to be done since the adversaries had not changed attitude. “LeT continues to target India. These groups are now in coordination and one of these may have forged ties with the Al-Qaeda.” However, “should there be another attack or attempt to attack, our response will be swift and decisive,” he said.

Recalling his conversation with American National Intelligence chief who said luck was on the U.S. side as it did not have to witness another 9/11, Mr. Chidambaram remarked in a lighter vein that during the last 12 months he too was lucky.

Mr. Chidambaram’s reference that terrorism was categorised as Jihadi or Hindu-inspired drew sharp reaction from the BJP; the Minister responded that he was not blaming any community. Terrorists were religious fanatics who may belong to any religion.

During his 30-mintue reply, he touched upon the problem of Maoists and said it was time for every citizen to take a stand whether they would support those who rejected the parliamentary form of democracy and believed only in armed struggle.

While assuring the House that the police did not declare a war on Maoists or tribals, he said the attempt was to restore civil administration and then follow it up quickly with development. The security forces were being used only to reassert authority in areas where it lost control.