Excerpts of PMs Intervention
in Lok Sabha during discussion on the Recent Terrorist
Attacks in Mumbai
December 11, 2008, New Delhi
As I rise, I am acutely conscious of the fact that
acts of terror are on the increase and we have lost
lives of many citizens in these dastardly acts. I am
conscious that our systems and procedures need review.
On behalf of the Government, I would like to apologise
to our people for the fact that these dastardly acts
could not be prevented.
As far as Mumbai is concerned, it was a very calculated
and sinister attack, intended to cause widespread terror
and damage to the image of India. The forces behind
these attacks wanted to destabilize our secular polity,
create communal discord and undermine our countrys
economic and social progress.
Each one of us has condemned this horrible incident
and also extended our deepest condolences to the bereaved
families and sympathies to those who have suffered injuries.
We have all saluted the courage and patriotism of the
Police and security forces, including the special forces,
like the NSG and the Naval Commandos. This nation is
proud of them. I also note with great sorrow the number
of foreign nationals who have been victims of this onslaught.
I have personally spoken and written to leaders of countries
apologizing for the loss of their nationals.
Nothing that we can say or do will compensate for the
lives that have been lost. But it is important to ensure
that the memory of their sacrifice does not get dimmed
with the passage of time. Parliament must resolutely
reinforce our nations determination to defeat
terrorism and destroy it root and branch. The scourge
of terrorism has to be, and will be, fought with determination.
All means and measures needed for this purpose will
Our immediate priority is to restore a sense of security
to the people of India. We will not countenance a situation
in which the safety and security of our citizens are
violated with impunity by terrorists or other militant
I believe that we have to work at three levels. Firstly,
we have to galvanize the international community into
dealing sternly and effectively with the epicentre of
terrorism, which is located in Pakistan. The infrastructure
of terrorism has to be dismantled permanently. This
is for the good of the entire world community, including
the well being of the people of Pakistan themselves.
Several Heads of State and Government have spoken to
me in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Each
one of them praised India for demonstrating restraint.
They agreed that strong action should be taken against
those responsible for these acts. I conveyed to them
that we could not be satisfied with mere assurances.
The political will of the international community must
be translated into concrete and sustained action on
the ground. It is time for the international community
to squarely confront the challenge of terrorism. The
use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy is
no longer acceptable. There should be no double standards
in the global fight against terrorism. There are no
good or bad terrorists. There is no cause that justifies
the massacre and killing of innocent people.
We need effective steps not only to bring those responsible
for the Mumbai attacks to justice, but also to ensure
that such acts of terrorism do not recur.
I am happy that the United Nations has taken the step
today to put sanctions on four individuals of the LeT,
including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, and on the front organizations
under which the LeT was operating such as the Jamaat-ud-Daawa.
This is the kind of purposeful action that we believe
should be pursued in a sustained manner by the world
community to ensure that the entire infrastructure of
terror is dismantled.
Secondly, we have taken up strongly with the Government
of Pakistan the use of their territory for launching
an attack of this kind and the need for the strongest
possible action against the perpetrators of such ghastly
acts. The world community must be convinced that action
by Pakistan against the brutal perpetrators of these
crimes against humanity will be effective and will be
sustained over time.
We have so far acted with utmost restraint. But let
not our commitment to civilized norms be misconstrued
as a sign of weakness. Every perpetrator, organizer
and supporter of terror, whatever his affiliation or
religion or location, must pay the price for such cowardly
and horrific acts against our people. We have noted
the reported steps that have been taken by Pakistan.
But clearly much more needs to be done and the actions
should be pursued to their logical conclusion.
Thirdly, we need to recognize as a nation that we cannot
depend on either of these two approaches for obtaining
the outcomes that we desire. The Mumbai incident has
highlighted gaps in our preparedness to deal with these
kinds of assaults. We need to equip ourselves more effectively
to deal with this unprecedented threat and challenge
to our country's integrity and unity.
The Home Minister has already outlined a number of
steps that are being taken. The Administrative Reforms
Commission report has taken a comprehensive look at
the problem of terrorism and the course of action that
the Commission has indicated is under the active examination
of the Government.
The need for stronger measures to protect our coastline
has been highlighted before, but the progress on ground
in this regard has obviously been tardy and too slow.
We are strengthening maritime security against asymmetric
threats from the sea. Since there are currently multiple
agencies tasked with coastal security, it has been decided
that the sole responsibility of guarding the coastline
would be entrusted to the Coast Guard. The Indian Navy
would provide the necessary back-up support to the Coast
Guard for this purpose. This would come into effect
immediately. Special security and protective arrangements
are being put in place for all major ports. Similar
steps have been initiated for guarding sensitive installations
in the vicinity of our shore line.
Arrangements for securing our air space taking into
account conventional as well as non-conventional threats
have been streamlined. Real time monitoring of aircraft
movement jointly by the Air Force and the civil authorities
has begun. Air defence measures to prevent intrusion
of rogue / unidentified aircraft are in place.
The attacks highlighted the need to be able to act
in response to such incidents with much greater speed.
We have worked out a mechanism for a comprehensive crisis
management response. It has already been decided that
the National Security Guard should be decentralized
and dispersed and should be located in major metropolitan
areas. At the same time, arrangements must be put in
place such that rapid response units can reach other
locations without loss of time. Till such time as the
strength of the NSG is increased, and new units are
trained, the Special Forces available with the Army,
the Air Force and the Navy and other civilian agencies
will be used. Commando units would be created by each
We have already decided to strengthen the legal framework
to deal with terror and also to set up a national investigation
agency. As promised by the Home Minister these Bills
would be brought to the House at the earliest.
As has been indicated, mechanisms have already been
put in place to provide more timely intelligence to
pre-empt future terrorist attacks. Daily meetings at
the level of the Home Minister are being taken. The
Multi Agency Centre of the Intelligence Bureau will
be concentrating exclusively on collecting, collating
and disseminating information relating to terrorist
threats. Integration and coordination among the various
intelligence agencies is being improved. The States
have been requested to energize intelligence collection
at the district level to produce more actionable intelligence.
While we will be taking a number of short-term and
long-term measures, there is a general consensus that
the long-term strengthening of our security will only
take place by strengthening the police establishment,
particularly at the local level. We are committed to
police modernization and will spare no effort and no
resource to undertake this task within a definite timeframe.
We must provide our security forces with the modern
and sophisticated equipment they require to tackle the
increasing sophistication of terrorist crimes. The morale
of our security forces is of utmost concern and importance
and if there are any deficiencies these will be made
good. The country needs a modern and efficient police
force to deal with the twin challenges of security and
development in this day and in this age.
The terrorist attacks in India have tried to sow communal
divide in the country and weaken our polity and our
social fabric. We have emerged stronger with every challenge,
and will do so again. I have no doubt that the Mumbai
attacks will also fail in their nefarious designs. All
political parties have an obligation to unite against
communal hatred and discord. We cannot fight and win
this war against terrorism if we are a divided house.
In conclusion, I wish to say that it is in times of
adversity that the true mettle of a nation is tested.
We must remain calm and be resolute. We should stand
firm as one nation and one people to meet this challenge
posed by terrorism. We will give a fitting rebuff to
our enemies. The idea of India as a functioning democracy
and a pluralistic society is at stake. This is a time
for national unity and I seek your cooperation. Truth
and righteousness are on our side and together we shall