Dr. Monmohan Singh, who is the honorable Prime Minister, said that the NCTC should be a vehicle of the Centre and the states combined efforts to reach the shared goal of curbing terrorism and eradicating militancy.
According to him, NCTC is not a State versus Centre issue.
By defending the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), yesterday Singh said that the establishment of the NCTC is not a state versus Centre issue, it will coordinate counterterrorism measures throughout the country.
While chairing the meeting on NCTC in New Delhi, PM said, ”NCTC will supplement counterterrorism capabilities of states not supplant them.”
The meet with chief ministers will discuss issues related to strengthening of counter terrorism capabilities and NCTC.
Various concerns raised by the state governments on NCTC will also be taken up and allayed at the daylong deliberations.
”It is my hope that as a result of your discussions today, we will make further progress in improving our counterterrorism architecture. The closest cooperation and coordination is necessary to meet the threats that emanate from within and outside our borders,” he said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is among the front-runners to oppose the anti-terror agency despite being a ruling partner of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The chief ministers of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-ruled states have also opposed the NCTC.
And Singh said, ”We remain open to the suggestions of chief ministers. We would like to benefit from their knowledge, wisdom and experience. The NCTC mechanism will give states ability to see the bigger picture of terrorist threats and enhance their counter terrorism capability.”
“But for the NCTC to function smoothly and effectively, it is important that we have a fairly broad consensus on its powers and functions. We would like the state governments to be with us in this initiative, which we believe would strengthen our counter-terrorism efforts,” Singh said, adding the Centre was open to suggestions of Chief Ministers.
Advocating formation of NCTC at the meeting, the Prime Minister said the NCTC mechanism will give each state agency an ability to see the bigger picture of terrorist threats and thus would enhance their counter terrorism capability and access to resources.
He also drew attention of Chief Ministers towards the Standard operating Procedures circulated by Union Home Ministry and said the draft reflects the details provisions for Centre-State coordination in both the organisational set up of NCTC and in its proposed powers and functions.
He said terrorism was today one of the most potent threats to the national security. “There can be no disagreement on putting in place an effective counter terrorism regime with efficient mechanisms and response systems both at the national level and at the State level.
“Neither the states nor the Centre can fulfil this task alone. The closest cooperation and coordination is, therefore, necessary to meet the threats that emanate from within and outside our borders,” the Prime Minister said.
Allaying fears of some of the Chief Ministers about disturbing the federal structure, the Prime Minister stressed that the government’s intention was in no way to affect the distribution of powers between the states and the Union that the Constitution provides.
Singh said while since Mumbai attacks in November 2008, there has been much close coordination between state and central agencies which resulted in noteworthy successes, however, much remains to be done.
“On the whole there is broad agreement on the strategy and measures that we must adopt to counter terrorism in all its multifarious dimensions in India, including cross- order terrorism, Left Wing Extremism, terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, insurgency in the North-East and religion based terrorism,” he said.
He said it was the “responsibility of the Centre to give form and shape to a cohesive national approach and strategy based on information gathered globally and from all the states of our Union.
“On their part, the states should use their expertise, knowledge and machinery to secure their own territories and work in coordination with the Centre and other States,” the Prime Minister said.