NEW DELHI: A Maoist insurgency raging across at least nine states is the chief internal security threat to India, even as traditional conflicts in Kashmir and the northeast have ebbed, the country’s top law enforcement official said today.
Despite several high-profile attacks across the country last year, including a triple bombing in the city of Mumbai, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said there had been a decline in terror attacks and casualties in 2011.
Security forces broke up 21 terror cells and arrested 64 people last year and the first three months of this year.
Chidambaram spoke to a meeting of India’s chief ministers aimed at coordinating the country’s anti-terror efforts.
Many of the state leaders have rejected a government proposal to set up a national counterterror center as a power grab by the central administration that infringes on their policing authority.
The government says it needs the center to implement a unified strategy. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who did not mention the controversy over the center directly, warned the chief ministers that despite recent success, ‘this is a struggle in which we cannot relax’.
“Today, terrorist groups are nimble, more lethal than ever before and increasingly networked across frontiers,” he said.
Chidambaram warned that terror groups are continually trying to infiltrate from abroad and have opened new routes into the country from neighbouring Nepal and Bangladesh.