India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. — Photo by AP

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cautioned on Friday against revived terror camps in Pakistan and told a conference of senior police officials that the security environment in the country remained “uncertain”.

Claiming that New Delhi had initiated a process of broad-based consultations to find a way forward in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, he said there was no room for complacency by the security forces.

“We need to give the processes of dialogue and democracy a chance to secure a just and honourable settlement that meets the aspirations of all sections of the people,” Dr Singh said.

“Despite these positive developments, there is no room for complacency on the security front in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. There are reports of cross-border camps for terrorists being reactivated, and of attempts to induct fresh batches of militants into the country.”

He directed the police chiefs to ensure that such attempts were foiled through smooth and coordinated functioning of all security agencies working in Jammu and Kashmir.Recalling recent bomb attacks in Mumbai and Delhi, he said these were “grim reminders of the grave challenges posed by terrorism to our national security”.

The prime minister laid special emphasis on mobilising resources to thwart Maoist rebellion in central India. “Over the last one year, left wing extremism has also claimed the lives of many innocent persons and police personnel,” he said.

A significant problem in policing India was its diverse cultural sensitivities, which was complicated by a perceived police bias against Muslims and other minorities.

“Sometimes our security forces have to perforce serve in unfamiliar areas far away from their homes. They don't have adequate understanding of local sensitivities and sometimes of the language as well. These can be vital handicaps in earning the trust and confidence of local communities. I understand a number of steps have already been taken in this direction, but more needs to be done,” the prime minister said.

“Another issue, which also figured at the recent meeting of the NationalIntegration Council, was the perceived bias sometimes of the law- enforcement and investigation agencies against the minorities. The existence of such a perception is inimical to effective policing, which must necessarily draw upon the confidence and cooperation of all sections of the population it serves. I would like you to consider ways and means to deal with the causes of such perceptions wherever they may exist.”

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