New home secretary lists Maoist violence as 'big challenge'

Singh succeeds G.K. Pillai at a time when the nation is undergoing major security reforms to fight internal security challenges that includes terror threats emanating from Pakistan.

"I believe Naxalism is a big challenge before us. We will confront the challenge to get success," the top security official told reporters soon after assuming charge from Pillai.
Singh said the central government would coordinate closely with the states affected by Left-wing extremism to overcome the threat.

"It is necessary to work with the state governments in close partnership. We will try to work more closely with state governments," he said.

He added that security forces would be strengthened and the two-pronged strategy of police action coupled with development would continue to be followed to eliminate the threat.

"We have strengthened our forces. We will strengthen them further, providing them more training. We will focus on intelligence input, which is very important, and coordinate with state governments in carrying out development projects," Singh said.

India has been ushering in reforms in internal security strategy,   including revamp of intelligence gathering and sharing among various agencies.

Home Minister P.Chidambaram and Pillai, the former home secretary, had undertaken the initiative in the backdrop of the 2008 Mumbai attack, the most audacious in India.

However, the much awaited police reforms and modernisation of security forces is yet to take off and this would be one of the major challenges for the new home secretary to initiate.

And perhaps with this in mind, Singh stressed the need to strengthen the state police forces. The central government would closely help states in that, he said.

Singh lauded Pillai's tenure for his "tremendous" job in managing the security of the country in the last two years, during which there have been just two major terror attacks in India (outside insurgency hit Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast) - Feb 13, 2010, in Pune and Dec 7 the same year in Varanasi.

This is being largely attributed to a reform in intelligence gathering that, Indian security officials privately admit, thwarted terror strikes being plotted by Pakistan-based terrorist outfits.

"I will look forward to continuing the initiatives which have been taken. I look forward to confronting the challenges in the same manner as my predecessor. And I am quite certain that we shall continue the policy that we have," Singh said.

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