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India vows far-reaching security reform

©

Latest update : 2008-12-11

Appealing to Indians to be "brave and united", Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram announced wide-reaching reform of its security laws and infrastructure following the Mumbai attacks.

AFP - India announced on Thursday wide-reaching reform of its security laws and infrastructure following the Mumbai attacks, as the home minister said South Asia was "in the eye of the storm of terror."
   
Palaniappan Chidambaram reiterated the Indian government's stance on the source of the attacks, telling parliament "the finger of suspicion unmistakably points to the territory of our neighbour Pakistan."
   
Appealing to Indians to be "brave and united," he said he would introduce a series of bills for the prevention and punishment of militant acts as well as set up a national investigation agency.
   
He also announced measures to fix intelligence lapses and "logistical weakness" that came to light during the 60-hour siege in which 172 people died, including nine gunmen.
   
A 10th gunman, who was taken alive, was remanded in custody Thursday on a string of charges including "making war against the country" and murder.
   
"Intelligence gathering requires human resources and technical resources. We have identified the gaps," Chidambaram said in what was the government's first detailed security statement to parliament on the attacks.
   
The measures, which included setting up 20 counter-insurgency and anti-terror schools for training commandos, come after many Indians expressed alarm at the nation's lack of security preparedness.
   
"Given the nature of the threat, we cannot go back to 'business as usual'," said Chidambaram, who was named home minister just over a week ago after his predecessor quit over the failure to avert the siege.
   
"I would urge this house to consider and pass these bills in this session," said Chidambaram, who added he would present anti-money-laundering legislation to curb militant activities.
   
He promised to "strain every nerve" to ensure India's safety and said he would take "hard decisions" to prepare the country and the people to face the challenge of terror.
   
"Several terrorist organisations operating from territories beyond India's borders have been identified as the source of attacks against India that have been perpetrated over the last number of years," Chidambaram said.
   
He said India's crack National Security Guard, the country's best-equipped counter-terrorism force, would now be located in various regional hubs in addition to its headquarters outside New Delhi.
   
The guards took several hours to reach Mumbai following the start of the attacks.
   
Measures announced by the government also included a coastal command for overall security of 7,500-kilometre (4,700-mile) coastline, as the gunmen used boats to enter Mumbai.
   
Indian officials say the militants were trained and sent by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group.
   
 

Date created : 2008-12-11

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