Kolkata: Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is a greater challenge to the country than terrorism in terms of number of lives lost in violence, Home Minister P Chidambaram said here on Wednesday.

"Terrorism is a major challenge for security and sovereignty for our country. But LWE is a greater challenge than terrorism in terms of number of people killed in violence," Chidambaram said.

"Ten times more people are killed in LWE attacks than terrorism in the country... We are building capacities to deal with them," he told a special session organised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

There are two planks to deal with the problem of extremism. The first plank is development of the affected areas and the other is improvement in law and order, he said.

Citing the example of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, Chidambaram said no one is able to go there due to which there is no development in the area.

"Wherever development can take place, it should take place with the help of security forces. Wherever not, security forces should go and regain control of the regions. The process will take some years," he said.

The Union Home Minister said the Centre and states like West Bengal had urged Naxalites to suspend violence and come to the table for talks.

"We are not asking them to shed their ideology or to lay down arms, we are simply asking them to shed violence and come for talks. These are conflicts which will take time to resolve," he said.

(Agencies)