National Counter Terrorism Centre Of India Downsized

National Counter Terrorism Centre of India is an ambitious project that aims at fighting the growing menace of terrorism in India. However, from the very beginning it is in doldrums. Fears of it becoming an all powerful and centralised point for terrorism related issues have never allowed it to take a start.

Besides there are many “practical difficulties” that may prevent the actual implementation of the much needed NCTC of India. Presently intelligence agencies of India are operating under different Department/Ministries and there would be a “reluctance” to submit to the centralised NCTC of India.

Another problem pertaining to intelligence agencies of India in general and projects like NCTC, National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) Project of India, etc in particular is that in India we have no “parliamentary oversight” over intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

In this background, it has now been reported that the proposed NCTC of India may not be an umbrella organisation having control over various arms of intelligence agencies in India.

The Union home ministry is re-working its proposal to allay the concerns of the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) and various ministries and agencies in this regard. The PMO has not given its consent to the concept of the NCTC as drawn out in the discussion paper submitted by the MHA in 2010, but has orally conveyed to the MHA that it has agreed to discuss the setting up of the counter-terrorism centre.

The MHA is preparing a brief note to approach the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to get an in principle approval for the setting up of the NCTC by the year-end, promising to go back to the CCS at every stage.

Taking lessons from its recent bad experience that has put the National Intelligence Grid of India in doldrums, the MHA is planning to suggest the NCTC will act as a “‘fusion” centre where all “terror-related” information will flow in and would be “analysed” by a group of experts.

The NCTC will work not only to “pre-empt” terror attacks but also help in “post blast” analysis and seamless sharing of information between various agencies. The Natgrid will not be subsumed by the NCTC but would provide the critical information to the centre, when required, and the task of intelligence gathering will remain with the various agencies which would work as usual.

The MHA is planning to hold meetings with experts and retired officials, including former home secretaries and chiefs of intelligence agencies to hear their views and proceed step by step.