India unveiled the biggest overhaul of its security services in decades yesterday, with plans to recruit 400,000 more police officers and to create a national counter-terrorism centre to prevent another Mumbai-style attack. Palaniappan Chidambaram, the Home Minister, proposed a raft of reforms designed to address the failings exposed by the attack in November 2008 in which ten alleged Pakistani militants killed at least 160 people over three days in Indias financial capital. In a speech to Indias domestic intelligence bureau he pledged to set up a national counter-terrorism centre by the end of next year to oversee the dozens of intelligence and law enforcement agencies currently handling terrorist threats, principally from Islamic militants, separatist movements and Maoist rebels. He proposed splitting his own ministry to allow him to focus entirely on internal security, while a new body handled non-security issues such as disaster management and census issues. Mr Chidambaram also announced the establishment of a national intelligence database, Natgrid, that will unite 21 sets of databases containing information on individual citizens in the next two years. However, he said that the most important step was a massive expansion of the police force, which had a sanctioned strength of 1.75 million but had only filled 1.48 million posts. That makes India one of the least policed countries in the world, with a ratio of available police per 100,000 people of only 130, compared with an international average of 270. There is no substitute for the policeman who walks the streets, Mr Chidambaram said. The failure to perform essential police functions is where the rot began and that is where the rot lies even today. Police failings were exposed during the Mumbai attacks when officers armed with bolt-action rifles took on militants wielding grenades, satellite phones and automatic weapons. (The Times)