PC moots home ministry bifurcation

PC moots home ministry bifurcation


Union Home Minister P Chidambaram delivers the 22nd J B Centenary Endowment Lecture at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

At the same time, the Centre plans to establish by 2010 a National Centre for Counter-Terrorism (NCTC) which will have administrative and operational control over all other security agencies that have counter-terrorism functions. The proposed NCTC will have operational oversight of the National Investigation Agency and units within the Research and Analysis Wing, Aviation Research Centre and the CBI that deal with counter-terrorism.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday suggested splitting the home ministry and creating a separate ministry to handle matters not related to internal security. Stressing the need for a “bold, thorough and radical restructuring of the security architecture at the national level,” the home minister said it would consist of political, administrative, intelligence and enforcement elements.

He said the home ministry performs a number of functions that have no direct relation to internal security. “There are other divisions or desks that deal with Centre-state relations, disaster management and census. These are undoubtedly important functions and deserve close attention,” he said.

Presenting a road map “A New Architecture for India’s Security”, Chidambaram said given the imperatives and the challenges of the time, “a division of the current functions of the Home Ministry is unavoidable.” The minister was delivering the 22nd Intelligence Bureau Centenary Endowment Lecture here.

Unveiling a blueprint on the government’s counter-terrorism plans, Chidambaram said one of the proposals before the government was the establishment of NCTC which would likely be set up next year.

The NCTC’s tasks would involve preventing a terror strike, containing an attack and effectively responding to it by inflicting military costs upon the perpetrators.

“Such an organisation does not exist today. It has to be created from scratch,” he said, noting that the US was able to set up such a counter-terrorism unit within 36 months of the 9/11 attacks. The broad architecture of the new security system was an outcome of the Mumbai strike last year.

Chidambaram said as far as responding to a terrorist attack was concerned, “we may have enhanced the capacity to contain and repulse an attack. But I think there is still some distance to go before we can claim to have acquired the capacity to respond swiftly and decisively to a terror attack.”

The NCTC’s mandate would be to respond to violence unleashed by any group—be it an insurgent group in the Northeast or Maoists in the heartland of India or any group of religious fanatics anywhere in the country acting on their own or in concert with terrorists outside.

Maintaining that some organisations may have to be brought under the ambit of the NCTC, Chidambaram made a fervent plea that it should not result in turf wars.

He said the positioning of the Research and Analysis Wing, Aviation Research centre and the Central Bureau of Investigation would have to be re-examined, and that a way would have to be found to place them under the oversight of the NCTC to the extent that they deal with terrorism.

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