Addressing the Interpol General Assembly here, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said India continues to face a "high degree" of terrorist threats on several fronts, in particular of cross-border terrorism. "Terrorism in South Asia has increasingly emerged as an effective strategic weapon," he said.
The Home Minister said in spite of regular dialogue with the neighbouring country and handing over of credible evidence to it, the masterminds of one of the most heinous act of terror of the last century -- the 1993 Mumbai blasts -- in which 257 people died and 713 were injured were still sitting in safe havens and yet to be brought to book.
"Their presence in a neighbouring country is well known and Interpol Red Notices against them, who are Indian nationals, are pending since 1993," he said, in a clear reference to Pakistan, where underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and some others wanted in India are hiding. Shinde said terrorist groups have demonstrated that with simple tactics and low-tech weapons, they can produce vastly disproportionate results as had happened in the 26/11 attack.
"Terrorist attacks have exacted a heavy toll of life and property. Terrorists have tried to disrupt our way of life by attempting to initiate the element of fear. Fortunately, the Indian society has time and again shown its resilience and refused to be overawed by the terrorist acts," he said.
Strongly favouring international cooperation to achieve visible results in curbing the menace, Shinde said New Delhi was committed to combating terrorism and extremism in all forms and manifestations as no cause genuine or imaginary can justify terrorism or violence."The Government of India is committed to ensure that perpetrators of terrorist acts, their masterminds and conspirators are brought to justice and that prosecution and sentencing to the fullest extent of the law is ensured," he said. The Home Minister said be it the Mumbai blasts of 1993, the 26/11 attack or the 9/11 attacks in the US, the inter-state nature of planning involved in all of them underscores the need for increased cooperation and coordination amongst intelligence and investigative agencies.
"India alone has 138 pending Red Notices of terrorists who are absconding and are likely to be in some foreign state. In all, we have 670 Interpol Notices of various kinds pending of which 577 are Red Notices," he said. Shinde said terrorism by its methods and content rejects democratic and peaceful means of engagement and it attacks pluralism and multi-culturalism. "Thus, for a liberal, democratic and diverse society and country like India - terrorism and terrorist groups pose a challenge which has to be countered and effectively defeated," he said.