Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday described left wing extremism as perhaps the "gravest internal threat" facing India and said there had not been much success in containing the level of violence despite efforts.
"I have consistently held that left wing extremism is, perhaps, the gravest internal security threat we face. We have not achieved as much success as we would have liked in containing it. It is a matter of concern that despite our efforts, the level of violence in the affected states continues to rise," Manmohan Singh said.
The prime minister was addressing state police chiefs on the second day of their three-day conference at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.
"Dealing with left wing extremism requires a nuanced strategy -- it cannot be treated simply as a law and order problem. Despite its sanguinary nature, the movement manages to retain the support of a section of the tribals and the poorest of the poor in many areas," he said.
"It has influence among sizeable sections of civil society, the intelligentsia and the youth. It still retains a certain elan. All this adds to the complexity of the problem. I expect you to keep this in mind as you devise newer and better strategies to deal with the problem," the prime minister told the gathering.
Expressing concern over the volatile situation in the northeast, Manmohan Singh said: "The situation in the northeastern parts of our country is far from comfortable. In two of the states -- Manipur and Assam -- current levels of violence give us cause for concern."
"In addition, extortion and intimidation have become a menace across most of the states in the region. It should be possible, I believe, to bring about a substantial improvement in the situation if there can be better security management," he said.
The Prime Minister also said firm but compassionate handling of law and order matters could bring about substantial improvement in the prevailing state of affairs in the northeast states.