Counter-Terrorism: Herding Cats

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February 19, 2012:  On March 1st, India will activate a new anti-terror organization, the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC). Empowered to carry out nationwide operations, including arrest, search, and seizure, the NCTC is to be the country's main counter-terror agency. Many of India’s 28 states oppose the NCTC because the Indian constitution gives the states control over law and order within each state. In an attempt to allay those fears the NCTC will fight terrorism by collecting and analyzing threats, sharing the inputs, and information with other agencies and converting these into actionable data. NCTC will be a separate body located in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) under the control of the home ministry. The NCTC will draw up plans and coordinate actions for counter terrorism and will integrate intelligence pertaining to terrorism and analyze the same.

Senior officials of the agency will be taken from other organizations including IB, the internal intelligence agency, and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency. NCTC will integrate and analyze inputs on terror threats in India and will have legal authority to make arrests and conduct search operations. NCTC will maintain data of terror cells, terrorists, their associates, friends, families, and supporters. NCTC will also have the power to seek information -- including documents, reports, transcripts, and cyber information from national intelligence and investigative agencies and all seven central armed police forces.

It remains to be seen whether NCTC will be a success or just a redundant addition to the plethora of existing agencies. The States will have to extend crucial operational support and share information with NCTC to make it a successful and vibrant body.-- Rajeev Sharma.

 


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