KERALA

`Left wing extremism is country's biggest threat'

Security apparatus under stress: M.K. Narayanan

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan on Friday identified Left wing extremism as "perhaps the most serious internal security threat" faced by the country at present.

Delivering the M. Gopalan Memorial Distinguished Lecture on the subject `National security: emerging challenges' here, Mr. Narayanan said Left militancy that began as combination of "ideology and idealism" was largely being sustained by "lumpen elements."

The movement had affected over 160 districts in 14 States.

An average of 1,500 incidents of Left extremism, including landmine attacks, were being reported in the country every year. The splinter groups of the movement had further consolidated last year and its activists were in touch with similar organisations in South America.

The roots of the movement extended from South India to Nepal, he said.

The security apparatus in the country was under severe stress. Caste, communal, and sectarian tensions had contributed to the overall deterioration of law and order.

The efficiency of the police had declined. There was little synergy between State and Central agencies on national security matters.

It would be necessary to undertake a major revamp of intelligence collection methods and further modernise the State police forces.

Terrorism, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, was acquiring a lethal edge. The number of extremist volunteers willing to execute suicide and `fidayeen' missions were on the increase.

Terrorists had become more professional and sophisticated in their methods, he said.

In Bangladesh, fundamentalist groups were on the ascendancy. The suppression of democracy in Nepal had strained India's relationship with the country. The growing influence of Maoist groups in Nepal was another security concern.

Pakistan was yet to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in its territory though relations with that country had improved.

India did not want to be seen as a "counterweight" to China in the region. However, the new warmth in Indo-U.S. relations, even as U.S.-China relations sour could in the long run pose problems, he said.

Governor R.L. Bhatia inaugurated the lecture. Speaker Therambil Ramakrishnan, Public Works Minister M.K. Muneer, the former DGP M.K. Joseph, the former Railway Board chairman M.N. Prasad and journalist B.R.P. Bhaskar were among those present.

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