Chidambaram proposes radical restructuring of security architecture

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New Delhi, Dec 23 (ANI): Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday proposed a radical restructuring of the security architecture at the national level.

He unveiled the proposal while delivering the 22nd Intelligence Bureau Centenary Endowment Lecture here today. The topic of the lecture was "A New Architecture of India's Security".

As part of the plan, the Home Minister suggested the setting up of a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) by the end of 2010 and once set up, NCTC must have the broad mandate to deal with all kinds of terrorist violence, directed against the country and its people.

Chidambaram suggested the restructuring of the Ministry of Home Affairs and said that the Home Minister should devote the whole of is time and energy to matters relating to security.

Chidambaram pointed out that in the Home Ministry there are desks that deal with Centre-State Relations, State Legislations, Human Rights, Union Territories, Disaster Management, Census etc. 'These are undoubtedly important functions and deserve close attention. However, internal security is an equally, if not more, important function that deserves the highest attention."

He said that imperatives and the challenges of the times made a division of the current functions of the Ministry of Home Affairs unavoidable.

Chidambaram suggested that subjects not directly related to internal security should be dealt with by a separate Ministry or should be brought under a separate department in the Ministry of Home Affairs and dealt with by a Minister, more or less independently, without referring every issue to the Home Minister.

"The Home Minister should devote the whole of his/her time and energy to matters related to security," he added.

Chidambaram recalled that two days after the terrorist attack in Mumbai was repulsed, after paying a heavy price of 164 lives, the nation was in shock and anger. A billion plus people felt they had been humiliated and the country had been brought to its knees by a small band of terrorists. The security establishment was in disarray and numerous questions were being asked.

Commenting on the state of police, Chidambaram said all the States and Union Territories put together had a sanctioned strength of 1,746,215 policemen as on January 1, 2008. Against that number, only 1,478,888 policemen were in place. There are 13,057 police stations and 7,535 police posts in the country. The ratio of available police to per 100,000 people for the whole country is about 130. The international average is about 270. There is no substitute for the policeman who walks the streets.

Commenting on the difficult task ahead, Chidambaram said they could be done by providing more funds, tightening the administration and working to a time-bound plan.

Chidambaram set out the tasks for the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). It should prevent a terrorist attack, and contain a terrorist attack if it takes place, and respond to a terrorist attack by inflicting pain upon the perpetrators. Such an organisation does not exist today. It has to be created from scratch.

"I am told that the United States was able to do it within 36 months of September 11, 2001. India cannot afford to wait for 36 months. India must decide now to go forward and India must succeed in setting up the NCTC by the end of 2010," he added.

He wanted the NCTC to be under a police or a military officer who has the capacity to oversee intelligence , investigation and operations. He would be the single person accountable to the country on all matters relating to internal security.

To be accountable to parliament, "it would be logical to place the NCTC under the Ministry of Home Affairs", Mr Chidambaram said.

The Endowment lecture was attended by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr. Palaniappan, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Mr Rajiv Mathur, and serving and retired intelligence personnel of the country. (ANI)

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