6 Jan : The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, delivered the closing remarks at the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi today. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s remarks on the occasion:
“Chidambaraji has admirably summed up the gist of the conclusion of this very important Conference and it remains for me to thank all the dignitaries, particularly the Hon’ble Chief Ministers, for their patience and for their valuable suggestions. These deliberations have been very fruitful indeed. I have no doubt that our country can now rest assured of our united intent to fight the scourge of terrorism in a resolute manner. I am particularly grateful to all of you, the premier political decision-makers of our country, for your well-informed inputs and for your valuable suggestions. These will be carefully looked into. I would request the Home Minister to pay special attention to the points raised by the Hon’ble Chief Ministers. Shri P. Chidambaram has been working hard after taking over his onerous responsibilities as Union Home Minister. I should like to record my deep appreciation for his dedication and for his commitment.
We have taken note of all the concerns expressed at this conference particularly regarding the role of the States in maintaining law and order in a vast country like India. Both the Home Minister and I would like to make it quite clear that all the anti-terror initiatives will be undertaken with the closest possible interaction with the state government and their apparatus. We do recognize that it is not possible to effectively fight terror without the whole-hearted cooperation of the police machinery at all levels. Perhaps my colleague Shri Chidambaram could think of setting up a Group of Officers to advise the Government about the various centre-state specific issues. If required, we will be prepared to carry out necessary amendments or frame appropriate rules to address the concerns identified. In the DGP’s Conference in November last year, I had suggested that a Standing Group of State DGPs should be constituted to facilitate consultations with the Centre. This should also be activated.
We have taken note of the concerns expressed at this Conference regarding the recent amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure. We will carefully examine the matter for harmonizing these amendments with the provisions and intents of the National Investigating Agency Act and the Unlawful Activities (Amendment) Act. In case the harmonization of other important provisions of law regarding prevention of atrocities on minorities & weaker sections and the maintenance of law and order are required, this should also be done quickly. We would be ready with our response before the next session of Parliament.
We are aware of the need to properly integrate our intelligence system. I must compliment the Home Minister for his initiative on the Multi-Agency Centre. I would urge him to hold detailed meetings with all the Chief Ministers and as he has mentioned with senior officers, to further clarify the role of the Multi-Agency Centre. This will help early grounding.
On our part, we will spare no effort to deal with terrorist and insurgent groups operating from neighbouring countries. We are determined to put an end to terrorism sponsored from across the border with all the means at our command.
Chidambaramji has already responded to most of the vital issues all of you have raised. No doubt, over the coming weeks, he will also take suitable measures to address these concerns. I would urge you to take all required measures at your end so that we can deal with terrorism in a purposeful manner.
I understand that there is unanimity of thought and action on developing a nation-wide more integrated approach to countering terrorism.
All CMs are agreed that the changes made recently in laws relating to terrorism are necessary. Though of course, some CMs have proposed changes to make the law more effective to deal with terrorist acts. This will be considered.
There is similar consensus regarding the establishment of a National Investigation Agency. CMs have approved of such an agency to deal with terrorist actions, though some CMs have urged that this should be essentially limited to terrorism and not extended to other types of offences. This is precisely our intention and modalities regarding the functioning of the NIA would take this fact into account.
There is also agreement that no State is today insulated from terrorism and every State must therefore remain fully prepared to deal with a terrorist attack and coordinate its response in this respect.
A point was raised about the nexus between crime and terrorism. This is a vital aspect as there is close nexus between terrorist outfits, criminals and crime syndicates. Better tracking of crime and criminals will have a salutary impact on checking terrorist acts and both the Centre and the State Governments have to be alive to this reality.
Chief Ministers of coastal states have expressed concern about their vulnerability from terrorists using the sea route. We have taken note of this and a group is already working on creating an effective Coastal Command. This will work in close coordination with the coastal police to provide effective coastal security.
Many Chief Ministers have raised the issue of National Identity Cards for all citizens. This matter will be taken up urgently. Additionally, I agree that we should immediately take steps for providing GPS systems, vessel monitoring systems, transponders for all ships and boats, including fishing craft.
Every Chief Minister has stressed the need for improvement in intelligence gathering, streamlining of the mechanism for intelligence sharing, better analysis of the information gathering and conversion of this into actionable intelligence. I would add also that the State police and authorities need to follow up every lead that is provided, instead of taking the line that no actionable intelligence is being provided. Close cooperation with the Multi-Agency Centre and a two-way exchange of information and the development of appropriate speedy response mechanism I believe, would, go a long way in improving the situation on this vital front. With these words, I once again thank each one of Hon’ble CMs, Hon’ble Ministers and the officials for participation in this very important Conference.”