Asserting that India remains committed to working for good relations and peaceful existence with its neighbours, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said that incidents like the one that took place on the Line of Control (LoC) last month are against the norms of civilized international behaviour and are simply unacceptable.
"On the external front, we remain committed to working for good relations and peaceful existence with our neighbours. However, we are also firm in our resolve to deal effectively with any threat to our country. Incidents like the one that took place on the LoC last month are against the norms of civilized international behaviour and are simply unacceptable to us. We have also to recognize that our neighbourhood is characterized by growing instability and uncertainty," said Dr. Singh in his address at the conference of Governors at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here yesterday.
Pakistani troops had carried out a cross LoC attack on January 8, killing two Indian soldiers. One of the soldiers was beheaded.
"To meet the entire spectrum of security challenges, the capabilities of both the Armed Forces and the Police forces are being constantly strengthened through provision of cutting edge technology and modern platforms. We are also undertaking infrastructure development programs in the border areas to enhance mobility as well as connectivity," he added.
Dr. Singh said 'our strategy for dealing with the menace of Left Wing Extremism is two pronged'.
"Even as we have intensified operations against the extremists, we have also endeavoured to bridge the development and governance deficit in the Left Wing Extremist affected area, many of which have predominantly tribal populations. The steps we have taken include deploying additional Central forces, raising specialized forces, strengthening police stations and imparting training to State police personnel in counter insurgency, jungle warfare and anti- terrorism operations," said Dr. Singh.
"The need for greater inter-state coordination in operations against Left Wing Extremists was emphasized by Governor of Andhra Pradesh, E.S.L. Narasimhan. One cannot agree more with him," he added.
Dr. Singh said the Integrated Action Plan for 82 select and backward districts, most of which are affected by Left Wing Extremism, is beginning to show encouraging results.
"Road connectivity in these districts is also being improved. We have also taken steps to streamline the process for vesting of forest rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act to the entitled people," he added.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that the geographical spread of the menace of Left Wing Extremism has shown a shrinking trend due to all these efforts.
"Further, the number of incidents of Left Wing Extremist violence in 2012 showed perceptible decline compared with the previous year. However, much more remains to be done and we will make all efforts to accomplish what we still have to do. As has been pointed out by Governor of Assam, the expansion of Maoist activities to upper and lower Assam is worrisome," he said.
Dr. Singh said the government has taken several steps for the improvement of mechanisms and instrumentalities to counter terrorism.
"These include strengthening of the Multi Agency Centre (MAC) and the Subsidiary Multi Agency Centre (SMAC), creation of four new hubs of the National Security Guard (NSG), construction of coastal police stations and provision of high technology boats, setting up of the National Investigation Agency, and creation of NATGRID. The passage of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (Amendment) Bill in Parliament has given more teeth to the extant anti-terror regime and is at par with international standards," he added.
Dr. Singh further said 'in a secular polity that India is, the need for maintaining communal harmony can hardly be overemphasized'.
"Both the Centre and States have to pursue a well-coordinated strategy to achieve this objective," he added. (ANI)