Union home minister Rajnath Singh accused Saturday Pakistani "state actors" of trying to destabilise India, coming down hard on the nuclear-armed neighbour close on the heels of a fierce encounter in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least 10 people.
Addressing the 49th All India DGPs and IGPs conference in Guwahati, Singh also underlined the security threats India was faced with and talked about the challenges posed by militants groups Islamic State and al Qaeda.
Pointing to the attack earlier this week on an army patrol in Kashmir, Singh said Pakistan's claim that "non-state actors are behind such incidents is not true".
Questioning the role of spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), he asked, "Pakistan claims non-state actors are behind such incidents (of terrorism)... I ask is ISI also non-state actor?"
"It is unfortunate Pakistan does not mend its ways."
The home minister had raked up the issue in his address at the recently held Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, saying terrorism in India was "completely Pakistan-sponsored".
Singh's remarks in Guwahati came against the backdrop of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit held earlier this week in Nepal that was overshadowed by India and Pakistan's rivalry and ended with little progress towards regional integration.
Singh, in his speech, also voiced concerns about Indian youngsters joining the Islamic State (also known as IS, or ISIS, or ISIL).
A day after Areeb Majeed, a youth from Kalyan who had joined the West Asian group, returned to Mumbai, Singh said, "There are some misguided youth who are getting attracted to... organisations like the ISIS."
"We are concerned about the fact that Indian youngsters are getting drawn to Islamic State."
"Even though ISIS was born in Iraq and Syria, the Indian subcontinent cannot stay untouched by it -- we need to be aware of that reality," Singh said.
The home minister added al Qaeda was a serious threat to India, and the central government had not taken it lightly.
"There may be many terrorist organisations in the world but the government will not allow them to get a foothold in India," he said.
The home minister stressed al Qaeda would not succeed in India, referring to a threat issued by the terror outfit's chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to spread its base in the country.
"We can't take al Qaeda's threat of turning India into an Islamic state lightly. It is a challenge to us... Our security agencies are capable enough to deal any security challenge," Singh said.
On the October 2 Burdwan blasts, Singh said the West Bengal police and National Investigation Agency were playing crucial roles in the probe.
The blast took place at a house in Burdwan district's Khagragarh area, killing two alleged Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh militants and injuring another.
Singh congratulated the Bengal police Saturday for busting a terror operation in the state.
"A terrorist network has been busted in West Bengal; I congratulate the West Bengal police and NIA who are playing an important role in exposing the network. On the basis of the capability of the security forces, I can say that we are ready to face any kind of challenge," he said.
Stressing the need for modernisation of country's police forces, the Union home minister also asked all the state governments to fill up vacancies in their respective police forces.
Directors general of police (DGPs), inspectors general of police (IGPs) from all states and Union territories, heads of all paramilitary forces, officials from the Intelligence Bureau and all chief ministers of the northeastern states are taking part in the two-day conference in Guwahati.
Singh admitted there was lack of development in the northeast. "Let me assure you, we are committed towards a comprehensive development of this region."
Singh urged all the northeastern states to fill up vacancies in the police forces and assured them of all possible help.
(With IANS and AFP inputs)