P Chidambaram asks Maoists to suspend violence, not lay down arms

Chidambaram said that in no other time has the country faced multiple security challenges like now.

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Making a fresh offer for talks, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram Wednesday asked Maoists to come to the negotiating table by simply suspending violence without laying down arms, or leaving their ideology behind.

Chidambaram also said that in no other time has the country faced multiple security challenges like now and that it is building capacity 'brick by brick' to deal with them but noted it will take time.

"In no other time has India faced multiple security challenges. We face infiltration in J&K, Maoist and Naxalite problems in central India, several insurgent and separatist groups in North-East and threat of terror from a number of groups," he told a special session of Bharat Chamber of Commerce here.

The Home Minister said the Centre and states like West Bengal had urged Naxalites to suspend violence and come to the table for talks.

"We are not asking them to shed their ideology or to lay down arms, we are simply asking them to shed violence and come for talks. These are conflicts which will take time to resolve," he said.

He however maintained that Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is a greater challenge to the country than terrorism in terms of number of lives lost in violence.

Chidambaram also said India is vulnerable to terror attacks as it is closest to the terror epicenter.

"No country is free from terror. We are more vulnerable as we are closest to the epicenter of terror - Pakistan and Afghanistan," he said.

"Former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani was killed yesterday in a highly protected area of Kabul ... No city is completely invulnerable," he said.

"We try to be vigilant 24x7. We have asked the police forces to be vigilant despite all the deficiencies.

"Capacity is not sufficient to pre-empt possible attacks, for which intelligence gathering, investigation and a counter-terrorism agency backed by advanced technical network to bringing in all the data will have to be in place," he said adding the Centre would build National Counter Terrorism Centre soon.

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