New Delhi: Terming Pakistan and Afghanistan the epicentre of terror, Home Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday said the Delhi and Mumbai blasts were a blot on the security and intelligence agencies and admitted that India needed a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.
“Two terrorist attacks in the space of two months are indeed a blot on our records. The central government and security forces have been severely cricitised. While we accept the responsibility for the incidents and legitimate criticism, it is our duty to set out the context in which such terrorist attacks take place,” he said.
Speaking at the All India Directors General and Inspectors General Conference here, the home minister said Pakistan and Afghanistan are the epicentre of terror and since the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack, several steps have been taken to build capacity to deal with terror attacks.
“No country in the world appears to be entirely immune to the threat of terror, the US included. In 2011, up to August there have been 279 major terrorist incidents in 22 countries. The worst affected are Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said.
“The epicentre of terror is Afghanistan and Pakistan. Four out of five major terrorist groups are based in Pakistan and three of them continue to target India. There is no letup in efforts to infiltrate from across the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir.”
He said there are infiltration attempts via Nepal and Bangladesh as well as attempts to find a safe transit route via Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu.
Chidambaram referred to Indian modules that have the capacity to attract radicalised groups to their fold.
“Some modules are loosely knit under an organisation called Indian Mujaheedin (IM). Many old cadres of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) are morphed into IM cadres,” he said.
The home minister said the challenge of terrorism is a formidable one and requires a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.
“Following the September 2001 attack, the US identified Al Qaeda as its pre-eminent security threat and declared war on it and its affiliates. Over a period of 10 years, it created the Department of Homeland Security and brought 22 agencies under it that fought two wars and sent troops to other countries,” he said.
“We do not have just one pre-eminent threat but several and we must build capacity to deal with these multiple threats. Capacity building is work in progress, it requires time, money, human resources, technology and harnessing capacity of every organisation in the country,” he added.