HEADLINES:
India, Cyprus sign 4 agreements including one on Air Service Agreement । Agreements signed during Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades’s visit to India April 28 । Cyprus President called on President Mukherjee, Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi । The visiting President and PM Modi agreed on urgent need for all countries to decisively act against the states supporting factories of terrorism । PM Modi also thanked the Cyprus President for his support to India’s claim of Permanent Membership in UNSC । North Korea test fires a ballistic missile which landed in the Sea of Japan । India, Sri Lanka ink pacts on economic cooperation and road infrastructure development । The agreements signed during Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India । Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on him । Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar accompanied Sushma Swaraj when the latter called on the visiting Sri Lankan PM । India-Russia defence engagement will continue to grow, says Defence Minister Arun Jaitley । He was speaking at the 6th Moscow Conference on International Security in Moscow । India, Russia are celebrating 70 years of Diplomatic Relationship । China launches its first indigenous aircraft carrier । The new carrier will accommodate 36 aircraft and will be commissioned in 2020 after sea trials । It’s a 50000 ton platform with a ski jump deck modeled on Soviet carriers but has many design innovations । India, South Korea Sign Inter-Governmental MoU for Defence Industry Co-Operation in Shipbuilding । The MoU signed by Secretary (Defence Production), India, Ashok Kumar Gupta and Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration (DAPA), South Korea, Chang Myoung-Jin । The Inter-Governmental MoU was conceived under the overall umbrella of the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ between both countries । The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) accorded its approval for signing the MoU । The CCS also gave a go ahead for nominating Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Visakhapatnam for collaboration । Indian Navy successfully test-fires land attack version of Brahmos supersonic cruise missile । Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari calls on President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Home Minister and Defence Minister in New Delhi Apr 18 । Nepalese President is on a State visit to India April 17-21 । This is her first ever visit to India since taking over in 2015 । She was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour on her arrival at Rashtrapati Bhawan । Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Singh Sajjan, called on Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday । He was presented a Tri-Services Guard of Honour on his arrival at South Block । 12 killed in Saudi military helicopter in Yemen । Unconfined reports say the Blackhawk was accidentally shot down by a Saudi Patriot missile। US NSA Gen HR McMaster meets Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi । Gen McMaster also exchanged views on Indo-US relations with Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar । Happy Easter । US drops its biggest 21,000 pound bomb on ISIS in Afghanistan April 13 । Designated GBU 43, the Mother of All Bombs is designed to hit deep caves and tunnels in hardy mountains । GBU 43 is the biggest non-nuclear bomb, carried by the US Air Force (USAF) and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) । White House Press Secretyary Sean Spricer confirmed the night bombing but there was no immediate word from Taliban । Spicer said the ISIS terroists were targeted as they used the caves and tunnels to hit the US forces । GBU 43 is a concussion bomb carrying an explosive charge of 8,500 kg, equal to 11 tons of TNT । India, Australia sign 6 MoUs including on Combating Terrorism and Civil Aviation Security । Agreements signed during Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull’s Visit to India April 10 । He calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । This is the first ever visit of Turnbull after taking over as Australian PM in 2015 । The Australian PM along with his Indian counterpart took a Delhi metro ride to visit city-based Akshardham Temple । India, Bangladesh signed 22 agreements April 8 including key pacts on defence cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation । India announced an additional $4.5-billion concessional line of credit for infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, and another $500 million for Dhaka to procure defence equipment from New Delhi । A joint India-Bangladesh event saw both PMs honour the 1,661 Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 war for Bangladesh’s independence । Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrives in New Delhi for 4-day State visit to India । Prime Minister Modi himself goes to the airport to greet the Bangladesh PM on her arrival । External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj calls on Sheikh Hasina at Rashtrapati Bhawan । She is the special guest of President Pranab Mukherjee during her State visit to India । The Bangladesh PM has a full day of bilateral discussions with her Indian counterpart on Saturday (April 8) । 20 agreements are expected to be signed between India and Bangladesh । India, Malaysia sign 7 agreements । The agreements signed during Malaysian PM Najib Razak’s visit to India from March 30 to April 4 । Malaysian PM calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । India and Malaysia joint statement, issued after Modi, Razak meeting, calls for a deeper ties between the two nations । Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is free from jail after six year । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who holds additional charge of Defence, elected President of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) । He succeeds Mr Manohar Parikkar who resigned to take over as Chief Minister of Goa recently। Hardeep Singh Puri appointed Chairman of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries । Mr Puri is former Indian Envoy to the UN in New York and Geneva । FBI investigating possible Russian interference in 2016 US presidential election, Director Comey confirms । He told House Intelligence Committee there is no evidence of President Obama ordering wiretap of Trump during the election campaign । President Trump has made several allegations against his predecessor, which the powerful heads of FBI and NSA have denied । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assumes additional charge as Defence Minster । Jaitley replaces Manohar Parrikar who has moved to Goa to head the State’s Government as Chief Minster । BRAHMOS Extended Range (ER) missile successfully test-fired । Prime Minister greets CISF on its 48th Raising Day । INS Tillanchang Commissioned into Indian Navy । INS Tillanchang was commissioned by FOC-in-C Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra at Karwar । India Strategic salutes the humanity on this International Women’s Day । Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju dedicates first integrated heliport to the nation । Ms. DR Doley Barman appointed Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad । 1992 batch IFS officer Gopal Baglay appointed MEA Spokesperson । He replaces Vikas Swarup, who has been appointed Indian High Commissioner to Canada । Raytheon, Tata Advanced Systems to Co-produce Stinger Missile Components । Indian Navy Concludes First Contract under Buy and Make (Indian) Category । Contract signed between Nova Integrated Systems Ltd (NISL), a TASL subsidiary, and Indian Navy for procurement of Surface Surveillance Radars (SSRs) । NISL to indigenously manufacture these state-of-the-art radars in collaboration with Terma, Denmark । ISRO creates history; launches 104 satellites in one go । President, Vice President and Prime Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the historic mission । Indian Navy to decommission aircraft carrier INS Viraat on March 6 । India to spend Rs 2,74,114 crore on Defence । Rs 85,737.31 crore will be spent on equipment acquisition । Russia formally enters IAF’s second round of MMRCA competition । Moscow offers a new MiG-35 variant under Make in India । Alexander M Kadakin, who served as the Russian Ambassador to India for over a dozen years, passed away after a brief illness in New Delhi on Thursday, January 26, 2017. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Kadakin’s death calling him a “great friend of India.” । India Strategic wishes everyone Happy Republic Day । President Pranab Mukherjee takes salute at the beautiful Republic Day Parade in New Delhi । UAE Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed is the Chief Guest at India’s R-Day celebrations । A highlight of the Parade is also the participation of a UAE armed forces contingent । Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay tributes to martyrs । The impressive Parade began with a 21-gun salute to the President, the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces । India’s anti-terror force, National Security Guard (NSG) made its debut in the Parade । Dressed in their patent black, NSG commandos jogged passed the saluting base with their faces covered । US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on January 24 । The telephone call is indicative of the vital nature of the India-US strategic partnership between the two countries । Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrives in New Delhi । Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was received by PM Modi । Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed is the Chief Guest of Republic Day 2017 । Government extends Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar’s tenure by one year । The extension to be effective between Jan 29, 2017 and Jan 28, 2018 । Pravind Kumar Jugnauth takes over as Mauritius Prime Minister । Prime Minister Modi congratulated the newly-appointed Mauritian PM । Donald Trump takes over as US President । Promises transfer of power to people । Turkish Boeing 747 cargo plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan with 37 onboard; all killed । Astronaut Gene Cernan, 82, the last man to walk on moon, passes away । India marks Army Day । President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister greet the Army । Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat takes salute at the impressive Army Day Parade । Gen Rawat says India wants peace but if attempts are made to disrupt it, then “we will display our power” । He says emphasis is on newer technology weapons and systems for the Army । Space connectivity is also high on Army’s agenda । This is the 69th Army Day, marking the time when an Indian Chief, Gen KM Cariappa took over the command after Independence । Indian Navy launches its second Kalvari class submarine INS Khanderi in Mumbai । India Strategic wishes all its readers and viewers a very Happy New Year । India successfully test fires Agni 5 long range missile | IAF gets Government approval for one more C 17 strategic Lift aircraft | IAF has got 10 C 17s, but had initially planned for more than 20 | Lack of timely approval made IAF slash figure to three but by then Boeing closed factory | IAF will get the last one in production | Syrian government of President Assad takes full control of Aleppo | Lt Gen Bipin Rawat appointed the next Army Chief and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa the Air Chief | The appointments are effective December 31 afternoon | Both are Vice Chiefs of Staff at present in their respective Services | 48 killed in a PIA ATR-42 aircraft crash in Pakistan | The twin-engine propellor aircraft was on way from Chitral to Islamabad | India marks Navy Day | Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets all Navy personnel, and salutes their bravery on Indian Navy annual day | PM Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurate Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference at Amritsar (India) Dec 4 | Need of the hour is to identify terrorism and bring stability in the region, says PM Modi | India’s commitment to Afghan is absolute, Mr Modi said addressing 6th HoA Ministerial Conf | Afgan Prez accused Pakistan of sheltering terror, and thanked India of financial aid | HoA Conf began at Amritsar Dec 3 | INS Vikrant likely to be operational in 2018 | Vikrant to operate both Russian MiG-29K and Western origin Aircraft | Indian Navy to mark 2017 as the year of submarine: Adm Lanba class=”gap”>| Gujarat-cadre officer Rakesh Asthana to take over as CBI Director after Anil Sinha, who retires Dec 2 | Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is Pakistan’s new army chief | Gen Bajwa took over from Gen Raheel Sharif Nov 29 | The outgoing chief stressed all should work together “against external and internathreats” | Plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia | Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies. He was 90. | Castro had challenged the US might and invited Soviet presence next door to the US | US-Cuban relations have normalized now after half a century | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Commissions INS Chennai into Indian Navy Nov 21 | INS Chennai is a Project 15A Guided Missile Destroyer | This is the 3rd and last ‘Kolkata’ class destroyer indigenously designed by DND and constructed by MDL, Mumbai |
April 30, 2017
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Combating the Scourge of Terror in Asia, Collectively

By Nilova Roy Chaudhury Published: March 2017
 

NEW DELHI. Terrorism is that modern scourge which, like disease, knows no boundaries nor respects any people, and can set back all development. Asia, where around 60 percent of the global population lives, has been plagued with a multiplicity of such threats to its security, from proliferating ideological, religious, ethnic, nationalist, political or sectarian divisions.

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The global response to terrorism, therefore, has to emanate from Asia, which has a pivotal role to play in combating this transnational threat, said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. A strong regional push from Asia would exert more pressure on the rest of the world to adopt a more cohesive framework to fight terrorism, Parrikar said in his inaugural address at the 19th Asian Security Conference (ASC), the flagship event organised by the Institute of Defence and Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

20170318-pic3 “Collective action should come from Asia,” he said.

Acts of terror undermine development and growth and “terrorism remains the most pervasive and serious challenge to global security,” Mr Parrikar said. “While the threat of terror is transnational, the response doesn’t seem so,” he said, urging a strong, collective response to counter terror.

Afghanistan and India, he said, have been “the biggest victims of cross border terrorism and proxy wars for decades.”

“Terrorism is undoubtedly the single biggest threat to international peace & security,” he said, and “a coordinated global response is important.” Mr Parrikar was speaking March 6, while inaugurating the three-day premier security conference, the theme of which was ‘Combating Terrorism: Evolving an Asian Response.”

The response to this threat is “generally local and uncoordinated”, largely because of “conflicting definitions of terrorism and geopolitical constraints,” he said, which have stymied a global response.

To successfully combat terrorism requires a holistic approach, Mr Parrikar said. Tackling the financing of terror and countering the misuse of the internet by terrorist entities through social media were important steps in this process, he said.

Welcoming distinguished participants to the event, Mr Jayant Prasad, Director General of the IDSA, set the tone for the three day conference and outlined the aim of the deliberations and the theme.

The ASC, he said, aimed to understand geo-political realities and define the Asian and global response to terrorism; to identify ideologies and drivers fuelling the transnational resurgence of extremist violence and, in particular, the role of terror financing; to examine how technology was altering the nature of the conflict; to assess the threat of terrorism across Asia, from the Southwest through the South and Southeast; and to build a reserve of best practices in counter-terrorism efforts.

Security experts from across India and the world participated in the six panel discussions, speaking on issues as diverse as ‘hostage taking as a tool of terrorism and the methodology of negotiations,’ ‘the terrorism industry and its global expansion’, the challenges of ‘invisible jihad’, ‘women in Lashkar-e-Taiba’ and terrorism as a “family affair” ‘al Qaeda and the Arabian peninsula’, ‘technology and intelligence in counter-terrorism’, ‘tackling malicious profiling online,’ ‘Total strategic failure: Nato in Western Asia’, ‘Women and Da’esh’ and the ‘Economics of terror.’ There was a special lecture on cyber-security, by Gulshan Rai, the Indian government’s chief of cyber security, outlining the way in which the scourge has spread across the internet and into our lives.

Leading security practitioners and policy makers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Britain, China, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Sri Lanka and the United States, among others, were part of the deliberations, along with Indian experts. The Asian Security Conference has emerged as an important platform for brainstorming on
issues concerning Asia’s Security.

Describing security and counter terrorism as the “most defining challenge of our times,” Mohammad Hanif Atmar, National Security Advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, sought a strong, collective counter-terrorism strategy.

Speaking of the need for collective investment in counter terrorism, Mr Atmar said, “Despite international investment in counter-terrorism, terrorism is growing its capabilities and presence in Afghanistan-Pakistan region.”

In a direct attack on the government in Pakistan, he said “We share the region with Pakistan, which has the highest concentration of terrorists anywhere.”

Collective CT strategy would not be short-term, but a ‘generational challenge’, requiring long-term planning. Its objective should be to end State sponsorship of terrorism by initiating coordinated political, strategic and military responses to destroy the flourishing sanctuaries for terrorist groups.

International accountability was a vital prerequisite to counter terror, Atmar said, but equal emphasis was needed for appropriate action at the national level through good governance, education, and infrastructure building, or what he called the “symbiotic confluence of three critical elements” to counter terrorism.

The perception that terrorism was associated with Islam was unethical and unhelpful, Atmar said, adding, “Collectively, the Muslim world is losing more people to terrorism than any other civilisation.”

Like India, Atmar stressed that the narrative of distinguishing between “good and bad terrorists” must end. Such distinctions help perpetrators to disguise themselves as victims and morph into a “Frankenstein’s monster.”

Afghanistan, he stated, was not confronted with a civil war, but a terrorist war, and an undeclared State to State war. “It is a drug war. It is a violent terrorist war. It is terrorism and extremism at its worst.”

There are three sets of terrorists in Afghanistan and between 40-45,000 terrorists in the country, waging war against the Afghan state. 20 out of 98 major terrorist outfits are operating within the Afghanistan region.

Afghan terrorists include the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network; Pakistani terrorists include the LeT, JeM, SSP and TTP, among a host of others; while Da’esh and Islamic State are “an enemy of us all,” he said. These outfits also need relationships with rogue State elements that provide them sanctuary.

Terrorist groups based in Pakistan are threatening Afghanistan and other countries in the region. Lack of a regional cohesive response to terrorism is making the challenge worse, the Afghan NSA said. A coordinated response, involving both military and diplomatic elements, was vital at the global, Islamic, regional and national levels.

“Afghan peace and reconciliation would be the most effective global anti-terrorism strategy,” he said. “Russia, China and Iran we consider friends of Afghanistan: we would welcome their influence for peace, not war. We would like to involve India in that dialogue,” the Afghan NSA said.

There is no “empirical evidence that Da’esh and Taliban are enemies today. These terrorist outfits are mutating constantly. Don’t expect one terrorist to take on another terrorist,” Mr Atmar said, cautioning some countries, like Russia and China, from talking to one set of terror practitioners to take on another set.

Participants across panels during the first two days viewed the rise of Da’esh as an unprecedented event in the geopolitics of the West Asian region, and indeed, the world. Analysts repeatedly pointed out that the terrorist outfit, also known as Islamic State, had challenged the existing regional political order by trying to redraw boundaries in the volatile region. Even if it is defeated as an entity, its surviving fighters could go underground, return to their countries of origin, and mutate into another, equally radical organisation.

Advocating the need for security and economic prosperity in West Asia, Ambassador Hossein Sheikholeslam, Advisor to the Iranian Foreign Minister, said in a special address March 7 that socio-economic imbalances were responsible for political uncertainty in the region.

West Asia had been a victim of Western arrogance and colonial intervention for decades, he said, and their continued meddling was the root cause of political conflicts in the region. Speaking about the ongoing crisis in Syria, he said Iran and Syria share a common political and strategic outlook. It was for the people of Syria to decide their own future.

The session on ‘Regional Perspectives—South and Southeast Asia: The Growing Spectre of Terror’ saw speakers from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka outline how they had tackled major incidents of terror, while one spoke of how Colombo had managed to vanquish the deadly LTTE. The participants talked of best practices adopted by them to curb the spread of terrorist organisations.

Also on the same day, while speaking on West Asia and the Caucasus, participating analysts at the conference highlighted the clash of interests among powers involved in the ‘New Great Game’ for influence in Central Asia. They also highlighted large-scale drug trafficking along the northern transportation route from Afghanistan to Russia as one of the major causes of instability in the region.

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Expert panellists urged the international community to agree on common denominators to formulate a single counterstrategy for violent extremism. They opined that political communities should attempt to reach out to the nations and ethnic sections that are potentially prone to radicalisation.

Citing external interventions as one of the major causes for increasing radicalisation of youth and terrorism in the region, participants urged greater regional and international cooperation to systematically eradicate religious extremism.

Regional cooperation on combating terrorism could be the ideal confidence building exercise for Asia, which has its own multiple fault lines. Participants opined that the problem of extremism and radicalism could not be resolved only through military interventions, as these could only get rid of the symptoms and not the root causes, which are the outcome of social, political and economic grievances. They suggested that effective military strategies need to be adopted to counter strategic threats without risking major financial and human costs.

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Among the common denominators, identified by the participating analysts for an effective counterterrorism strategy, was discouraging religious extremism, having proper legislation in place to protect minorities, refusing terrorist sanctuaries and use of non-state actors, and national action plans against terrorism.

The expert panellists suggested that a counterstrategy for extremism required action at four levels; global, the Islamic world, regional, and national; the gathered security experts, practitioners and policy makers unanimously agreed that religion needed to be de-linked from terrorism.

The counter-narratives needed to go beyond religions, to the connected political, historical and psychological issues.

Lack of socio-economic development, inadequate education, heightened poverty, corruption, and misguided nationalism were cited as some of the key drivers of extremist ideologies. Exclusion of minorities from mainstream politics, rising religious chauvinism, and lack of an ideological response to the extremist school of thought, were among other factors.

Recognising the critical role of technology in fuelling terror, several panellists detailed how technology acted as an enabler and feedback mechanism to identify target audiences and to reach out to them. It was vital to develop multi-disciplinary approaches, including capacity-building of law enforcement agencies, and strengthening of public-private partnership to counter terrorism.

The 19th edition of the ASC concluded March 8 with a strident appeal for a coordinated regional roadmap that would lay the foundation for a unified global response to counter the 21st century’s greatest challenge of violent extremism.

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