The 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes were a "game-changer", Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Monday while stressing that Pakistan-based groups like the Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) persisted in their attempts to attack India.
"The attacks in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 were a game-changer. We can no longer afford to do business as usual. Policing in India was always a challenge; after 26/11, the challenge has become more grave," Chidambaram said while inaugurating a three-day conference of state police chiefs.
Fresh from his five-day trip to the US, Chidambaram echoed what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pointed out a month back at an internal security conclave and said cross border terrorism was still a matter of deep concern.
Talking tough, Chidambaram there would be a "zero tolerance" to terror.
"On terrorism, our stance is zero tolerance. We shall raise our level of preparedness to fight any terror threat or terror attack and, in the case of a threat or attack, our response will be swift and decisive."
"Terrorist groups including LeT and JeM persist in their endeavour to launch terror attacks. They continue to innovate new ways and means of deniability," Chidambaram said.
"They find support among disgruntled elements within India. Cells and modules within India lend an Indian character to these activities."
He said security agencies were able to bust 12 terrorist modules in 2008 and, in the first half of the current year, almost 13 modules had been neutralised.
Speaking on left wing extremism that had their pockets of influence in 20 states, Chidambaram said there was no place for an armed liberation struggle in a republican democracy.
"We urge the left wing extremists to abjure violence and talk to the governments concerned on any issue, especially development, that affects the people," he said.
The home minister warned that the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) remained the most potent Naxal (Maoist) group with a presence in 17 states and a 90 percent share in violence and was determined to expand its activities into newer areas.
"The CPI-Maoist has also improved upon its military wares and operational tactics. Besides targeting the police, alleged police informers and so-called class enemies, it is laying greater emphasis on attacking economic and development infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways, power and telecommunication networks," he said.
The outfit, he said, was seeking to expand its network by seeking alliances with secessionist and terrorist elements in the country.
"It has been keenly seeking ideological resonance and tactical understanding with the northeast insurgents and has begun to lend support to their secessionist ideology and demands."
Endemic insurgencies in the northeast were another security challenge before the country, he added.
On Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Chidambaram said there was a steady improvement in the security scenario in the state but warned against complacency.
"There are attempts from across the border to forge unity among the separatists and escalate violence. The J&K police and security forces operating in the state must not lower their guard in the backdrop of recent improvement in the situation and be ever vigilant against likely attempts to step up violence," he said.