Govt to set up federal agency, says PM | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt to set up federal agency, says PM

delhi Updated: Nov 30, 2008 23:05 IST

In the wake of Mumbai terror attacks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the government has decided to set up a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), strengthen air and maritime security and create four NSG hubs in various parts of the country.

Sharing the country's "anger and outrage" over the Mumbai attacks, he appealed to parties to rise above political considerations to meet the challenge unitedly.

"Terrorists and enemies of our nation must know that their actions unite rather than divide us," he said in his opening remarks at the all party meeting convened by him to discuss the situation arising out of the terror strikes.

Describing the attacks as "different" from the previous terror strikes, Singh said "in the face of this national threat and in the aftermath of this national tragedy, all of us from different political parties must rise above narrow political considerations and stand united.

"We should work together in the interest of the country at this critical juncture."

He said the parties should build a consensus on what needs to be done to strengthen the ability of the system to meet these threats.

"The terrorists and enemies of our nation must know that their actions unite rather than divide us," the prime minister said at the meeting from which Leader of the Opposition LK Advani, BJP President Rajnath Singh and Shiv Sena stayed away.

He hoped that the political parties would be able to give a collective assurance to the nation that, across the political spectrum, "we stand together at this hour."

Maintaining that the government shared the hurt of the people and their sense of anger and outrage, Singh said several measures are already in place to deal with the situation.

"But clearly much more needs to be done and we are determined to take all necessary measures to overhaul the system," he said.

"We have finalised a set of legal measures based on the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission which includes the setting up of a FIA," Singh said.

The prime minister said the government would further strengthen maritime and air security for which measures have been initiated. This will involve the Navy, the Coast Guard and the coastal police, as well as the Air Force and the Civil Aviation Ministry.

"The anti-terrorist forces of the country will be further strengthened and streamlined. The National Security Guard, which is the principal anti-terrorist force of the country, will be given additional facilities and the size of the force is being augmented," he said.

Steps have also been initiated to establish another four NSG hubs in different parts of the country. Additionally, the special forces at the disposal of the Centre would be appropriately utilised in counter insurgency operations.

The Prime Minister said the country has had terrorist attacks in the past too.

"But this attack was different. It was an attack by highly trained and well-armed terrorists targeting our largest city. They came with the explicit aim of killing large numbers of innocent civilians, including foreign visitors. They sought to destroy some of the best known symbols of our commercial capital."

He said the ordeal at Mumbai, which occupied the attention of the entire nation, has finally come to an end.

"All of us share the grief of those who have lost their loved ones in this dastardly and brutal attack and also the pain and anguish of those grievously wounded.

"We cannot lessen their grief. But we will do all we can to alleviate their suffering. I give you my solemn assurance that we will look after the needs of those who survive this horrible tragedy," Singh said.

"We salute the bravery of our security forces who fought the terrorists in exceptionally difficult circumstances. They tried their utmost to save innocent lives at great personal risk.

"Twenty officers and men made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives. The entire nation owes a debt of gratitude to these men that we can never repay, the prime minister said.