Current Affairs:The NCTC Debate in India

 

National Counter Terrorism Centre for India                                             by PR Chari
Understanding the Debate

Like many other issues in these troubled times, the proposal for establishing a National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) to coordinate the anti-terrorism efforts of the Union and the States has also become a plebiscitary dispute. This proposal, dear to the heart of Home Minister P Chidambaram, comes from the US after he studied its workings during a visit to the country. The need to coordinate the anti terrorism measures of the Union and State Governments had become apparent after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 when several intelligence and operational failures came to light; hence, the need for a joint assault on terrorism is unexceptional. But, Chidambaram’s enthusiasm for the NCTC is not shared by the States and some 13 Chiefs Ministers, at last count, have voiced their misgivings about this modality.

It is nobody’s case that the State Governments are unconcerned about the recurring bomb explosions that have excoriated Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Varanasi and Ahmedabad. Their post-mortem reports have linked these events to terrorists from abroad acting either alone or in conjunction with domestic malcontents. Neither can be alleged that the several States afflicted by Naxalite violence are indifferent to the continuing loss of lives. Why, then, are these 13 Chief Ministers opposing this salubrious measure? It would be egregious to argue that they are indifferent to their responsibilities under the Indian Constitution, which confers on them the IPCS Issue Brief legislative powers to raise police forces and maintain public order in their jurisdiction. It appears that these Chief Ministers, mostly heading non-Congress governments, believe that the Congress-led UPA government in New Delhi will use the NCTC to harass them. Is this angst unrealistic? Or, paranoid?

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Current Affairs:The NCTC Debate in India-1

I.THE JUSTIFICATION FOR A CENTRALIZED COUNTER-TERRORISM INSTITUTION, AND ITS CAVEATS

The Home Ministry has countered that a NCTC is unavoidable because, at present, the Union Government cannot deploy its military and para-military forces suo motu to deal with internal security problems in the States; often the States are unwilling to accept these Central forces due to dubious political compulsions……..

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