A week after the blast outside the Delhi High Court that killed 14 people, home minister P Chidambaram on Thursday spoke about the need for a dedicated security agency "to disrupt, dismantle and eventually defeat" terrorist groups that he had mooted two years ago.
But Chidambaram told a conference of police chiefs that he was hopeful of getting the government's approval for the National Counter Terrorism Centre to discharge this function. This, he conceded, was his "most important unfinished agenda".
"Once there is a decision, I am confident that the core team of NCTC can be installed within 60 days and the full structure can be put together within 12-18 months," he said.
Chidambaram had outlined the concept of NCTC about two years ago, emphasising that NCTC would have a single point agenda of going after terrorists before they can strike and play an overarching role in the security establishment.
Chidambaram called the two terrorist attacks in two months "a blot on our records" but stood up for intelligence agencies, saying the intelligence community was doing "silent and solid work" despite its modest size that went unreported.
In this context, he pointed to their success in neutralising 51 terror modules since 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks which would have carried out attacks at targets like ONGC installations in Mumbai and the three judges of the Allahabad High Court who delivered the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid judgement.
He also reiterated the presence of "home-grown terror modules" attracted to radical ideology" and that many of these modules had acquired the "means to make bombs". Responding to comparison between US and Indian success in handling terror, Chidambaram said the US primarily had just one pre-eminent threat. "We have several".