HEADLINES:
Possible sale of Boeing C-17 aircraft to India approved – Pentagon। President Trump tweets: Look forward to welcoming to India’s PM Modi to White House on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend! । Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for three-nation tour to Portugal, US and the Netherlands June 24 । India, Portugal sign MoUs in areas of Space, and Collaborative Research । Agreements signed during PM Modi’s first leg visit of the three-nation tour । US clears sale of 22 General Atomics Sea Guardian drones for Indian Navy । Deal likely to be announced during PM Modi’s visit to Washington June 26 । These unmanned, or Remotely Piloted, Aircraft will be used for ISR Missions in Indian Ocean । The G-to-G deal, under the US FMS program, should be around $2 Billion । India launches Cartosat-2 along with 30 other satellites June 23 । PSLV-C38, the 40th flight of PSLV, carrying 31 satellites took off from first launch pad of SDSC Sriharikota । President Mukherjee, PM Modi and the Defence Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the successful launch । Lockheed Martin, Tata announce F16 India Partnership । Partnership aims to produce F16 Block 70 in India if selected by IAF । GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) orders 100 A320neo aircraft । Paris Air Show 2017 opens at Le Bourget, France June 19 । Chairman COSC and CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba on a visit to Isreal। India, Pakistan become full member of SCO। India’s entry into SCO was backed by Russia, and Pakistan’s membership by China। PM Modi calls on Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of SCO। He also thanked the Chinese President for supporting India’s entry into SCO। Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchange greetings with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in the Leader’s Lounge before the SCO concert in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan। It was the first time the two had met in nearly a year, during which period bilateral relations have deteriorated। PM Modi greeted his Pakistani counterpart and asked about PM Sharif’s health and about the health of his mother । Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs for 2-day visit to Astana, Kazakhstan to attend SCO Summit । India to be admitted as full member of SCO during the Summit । India signed Paris climate pact for its commitment towards protecting the environment, says EAM Sushma Swaraj । The EAM said this during MEA’s annual conference in New Delhi June 5 । It did not sign the pact of any greed or fear from any country: EAM । Ms Swaraj was rebutting US President Trump’s allegation saying India signed the deal to receive billions of foreign aid । India successfully launches communication satellite GSAT 19 June 5 । The heaviest ever rocket GSLV Mk III carrying GSAT 19 lifted off from SDSC (SHAR) Sriharikota । Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE cut diplomatic ties to Qatar । The 4 Gulf nations took the step following Qatar’s relations with Iran and support of Islamist groups। They also cut off its land, sea and air routes to the outside world । Libya, Yemen also joined the four Arab nations in snapping ties with Qatar । India, Russia sign pact for two nuclear power units at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu । INS Kalvari, the Indian Navy’s first Scorpene class submarine, will be battle ready from Day One, French collaborator DCNS announced June 1 । Kalvari, meaning shark, will be commissioned in July । Kalvari is the first of the six modern submarines ordered by the Indian Navy । Indian Navy is looking at 200 ships and 400 aircraft, all with hitech systems । Vice Adm Karambir Singh also told a seminar on Future Indian Navy that poor quality systems are not acceptable । Indian shipyards are building 40 ships at present । PM Modi reaches St. Petersburg in the 3rd leg of his 4-nation visit । He is to participate in 18th India Russia Annual Summit and SPIEF 2017 । India, Spain sign 7 agreements including one each on Cyber Security and Civil Aviation । Naval Chief Adm Sunil Lanba calls for cutting edge technologies with a Made in India stamp । Addressing a seminar on Building India’s Future Navy, he said ToT from foreign vendors would be say now with Strategic Partnership model । Adm Lanba said selection process for shipboard fighter is moving at desired pace and they should be inducted in about 5 years । About 80 killed, several injured in a bomb blast near Indian embassy in Kabul । Indian embassy staff were safe: MEA । PM reached Madrid on the second leg of his tour for a day- long visit to Spain May 31 । India, Germany sign 11 MoUs including one on Cyber Security । MoUs signed during Prime Minister Modi’s 2-day Germany visit on May 29-30 । We are made for each-other, says PM Modi on India-Germany ties । The Prime Minister is on 4-nation tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France from May 29-June 3 । India’s distinguished police officer, Mr KPS Gill passed away at 82 । Hassan Rouhani re-elected Iranian President । Prime Minister Modi congratulated him on his re-election । India, Palestine sign 5 MoUs including one on visa exemption for diplomatic passport holder । Agreements were signed after Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with President Abbas May 16 । Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas is on 4-day State visit to India beginning May 14 । Abbas is visiting India on the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee । This is the fifth visit and the third State visit of President Abbas to India । Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Colombo May 11 on his two-day visit to Sri Lanka । He was received by his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickramsinghe on his arrival at the Colombo airport । PM Modi is the chief guest at the International Vesak Day celebrations of Sri Lanka । India marks 19th National Technology Day । National Technology Day is marked to commemorate the anniversary of Pokhran nuclear tests of 1998 । On this day, Prime Minister Modi hails the then PM Vajpayee’s courage to conduct the nuclear tests । India launches GSAT-9 satetllite from Sriharikota । India to make Israeli rifles and small arms । Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) collaborating in the venture । Trump to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia this month । This will be his first foreign visit as US President । India, Turkey signed three agreements including one between the Foreign Services Institute of India and the Diplomacy Academy of Turkey । Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on President Mukherjee, Vice President Ansari, PM Modi and EAM Sushma Swaraj during his State visit to India । The Turkish President, visiting from April 30-May 1, backs India in fight against terrorism । Turkey conveyed its support for India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) । PM Modi expressed his gratitude on Turkey’s support । Indian Army celebrates 79th Armour Day । On 1 May 1938, Scinde Horse cavalry regiment was equipped with Vickers tanks and Chevrolet armoire cars । The Indian Army’s Armourerd Corps has played decisive role against Pakistani intruders in 1947, 1965 and 1971। 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 ।
June 27, 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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