NEW DELHI: National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon Monday said the National Counter Terrorism Centre was needed to pre-empt and prevent terror threats as he strongly pitched for formation of the anti-terror intelligence hub that has been stalled due to opposition from many state governments.
"(Terror) threats we face are much more potent than we thought," Menon said, as he emphasised that India had "made considerable progress on counter terrorism front".
He said the principle of prevention and pre-emption is what is needed to fight terror and lamented that the "much-needed" NCTC had to be put on hold because of opposition from chief ministers of non-Congress ruled states.
West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee who heads Trinamool Congress -- a partner in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and other chief ministers who have opposed the formation of the NCTC say the powers vested with the anti-terror unit will infringe on the rights of states and affect India's federal structure.
Menon said the debate over the NCTC should be logically concluded and the unit formed sooner.
He said the government was making attempts to amend laws and modernise police structures by setting up the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and by amending the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The NSA pointed out that the amendments to the UAPA were passed unanimously by parliament after the 2008 Mumbai attack. The changes, he said, recognise the need to counter terrorism to prevent the commission of terrorist acts before they occur.
"But when it comes to giving practical effect to the amendment to the UAPA to be able to counter terrorism, we still end up in a huge debate on the NCTC. We need to take this debate to a rational conclusion because events will not wait upon us for a decision," Menon said, delivering the Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal 29th memorial lecture organised by the Air Force Association.
"We must not create doubts in the minds of the people... No one should be misled," he said but didn't name anybody.
He said there was a need to evolve doctrines and capabilities and strategies to prevent "unacceptable damages" and stressed that the country had to to act before rather than after an attack to stop terrorists.
"This would require India to create capabilities that would deter threats and would cause our enemies to desist," he said.