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Will get Pakistan to end support to terror groups, Congress promises in poll manifesto

Congress manifesto focuses on national security as party promises counter-terror centre and statutory powers to NSA and NSC.

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New Delhi: The Congress, in its manifesto, has promised to get other countries on board to compel Pakistan to verifiably end its support to terrorist groups that it allegedly shelters.

“Congress is implacably opposed to terrorism anywhere in the world and promises to work with other countries to eliminate terrorist groups, terrorist acts and cross-border terrorism,” states the party manifesto

The promise comes at a time when the ruling BJP is seeking to centre its poll narrative around nationalism in the backdrop of India’s air strikes on Balakot in Pakistan, in response to the 14 February Pulwama terror attack.

Also read: Congress has found out who politicised Pakistan airstrikes — the BJP

National security major part of manifesto

National security is a major part of the manifesto, in which the party has promised to set up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre apart from operationalising a National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID.

The party has also promised to provide statutory status to the National Security Council (NSC) and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

“Their powers and functions will be defined under the law and both authorities will be accountable to Parliament,” reads the manifesto.

In its manifesto, the Congress has accused the BJP government of leaving the National Security Advisory Board in limbo, between January 2015 and October 2016, and then truncating the body.

It has also promised to expand the domestic capacity to manufacture defence and security equipment.

“The Congress promises to take strategic and hard measures to defend the territorial integrity of India and ensure the safety of our people,” states the manifesto.

It has also promised to establish the office of Chief of Defence (CDS) to be the principal adviser to the government on matters relating to defence. The part has also promised to increase the size of the foreign service.

Also read: There are very few BJP strongholds or Congress bastions in India. Data shows why


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  1. The NCTC was an excellent idea, deserves to be created. It was opposed in the past by some state governments who feared it would undermine their autonomy. However, dealing with terrorism, much of it sponsored from abroad, is beyond the competence and resources of the state governments. 2. The NSA is a staff officer, responsible to the PM. One does not see how or why he should be made responsible to Parliament. This is a purely advisory post, meant to coexist with the autonomy of the ministries of home, defence and external affairs. 3. There is, however, a need to make the intelligence services subject to parliamentary oversight. The US system works well. 4. CDS is a red herring. Being conscious of protocol, there will be a demand that it be upgraded to five star status.

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