In an apparent reference to Pakistan, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said the capacity of terrorists, operating from across the border, to strike places in India was high as they get support from the state.
At the same time, he said the security forces have the capacity to give a "swift and decisive" response to any terror attack targeted against the country.
"The challenge before security is that the source of the terror lies across our border and they have the support of the state and therefore their capacity to reach here and strike is very high," he said addressing a AICC lawyers' convention. Chidambaram said that cities in India were as vulnerable to terror as those in other parts of the world.
"Like any other country we are vulnerable to terror. We are no more vulnerable and no less vulnerable to terror than any other country," he said.
"Let me assure you, we will prevail as we have the capacity to face any challenge of terror. Should there be any terror attack on this country, our response will be swift and decisive and we will prevail upon any terrorist threat on this country," Chidambaram said.
The Home Minister asked every citizen to take at least minimum precaution saying: "Ultimately, we must defend ourselves. Each establishment, each shop must take minimum precaution to protect in case of terror attack."
Chidambaram listed Maoist violence as one of the grave challenges facing the country and assured the gathering that the government would free areas held by Naxals in the next three years.
He said the government was taking utmost precaution to ensure that the innocents are not affected by anti-naxal operations.
"Our security forces are observing the greatest restraint. They have been instructed not to fire until they are fired upon. It is a carefully controlled and calibrated operation to establish civil administration in the Naxal affected areas," he said.
Chidambaram said the security forces were fighting with "one hand tied to their backs" and added that no one who was innocent would suffer.
"Within two-three years, we will be able to free these areas from Naxals," he said.
The Home Minister said the Naxals believe in armed liberation struggle and their stated goal was to overthrow the elected government and seize power by "liberating" areas.