How to combat global terrorism

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How to combat global terrorism

Friday, 10 March 2023 | SUDHIR HINDWAN

How to combat global terrorism

QUAD must work on international strategic planning to fight new challenges from militancy and terrorism

The strategy to whip up bigotry by harping on the issue of numerical preponderance of a particular community has helped certain terrorist organisations create and reinforce their base to indulge in a proxy war with states across the globe. The Asia Pacific region is no exception to this. During the last few years or so terror attacks in many parts of developed and developing societies, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Turkey, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan or even in the Scandinavian countries like Stockholm highlight the fact that the world continues to sit on a powder keg. The seriousness can be seen in the recent announcement of establishing a Working Group to encounter terrorism by Quad on 3rd March 2023.

A joint statement of the Group Members US, India, Japan and Australia ) speaks volumes about the spectre of the menace which is still looming large. The criticism by the working group of any activities promoting terrorism as a policy is an attempt towards international cooperation amongst the Quad and with Indo-Pacific partners. This is the second important meeting after Oct 2022 that was hosted by Australia. The panel discussion focusing on "The Quad Squad: Power and Purpose of the Polygon," was a main step towards solving the terror problem.

The member countries showed their commitment to support Pacific Island countries with regional institutions through cooperation in several areas along with the terror such as climate change, resilient infrastructure, and maritime security to strengthen the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) The role of India’s leadership in finalizing the IORA in India-Pacific areas was greatly appreciated and getting even more important due to its impeccable reputation and also holding the G20 Presidency. Since then, cooperation among Quad Group countries has set a new road map through diplomatic endeavour towards building a new apparatus for the management of terrorism.

There have been several security-related issues that keep cropping up time and again as several individuals and non–state actors operating across the globe have been held responsible for exporting terrorism. Rampant use of battery-improvised devices, knives and cars in individual terror attacks, massacring foreign tourists and hostage takings have been some recent tactics adopted by terrorists operating from various countries. Recently there were attempts to export terrorism from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. On account of the rapid rise in terror threats, Moscow recognised the need to set up the Troika alliance in the past.

The need for a common security apparatus has exposed the institution-building process in many parts of developing society as well. The recent influx of illegal migrants and a spate of terrorist activities in Europe and Asia have shaken them off complacency and compelled them to seek cooperation in tackling the menace of transnational terrorism. The disgruntled groups have constantly expressed their dissatisfaction, many times violently. Thus, riots and bomb blasts occur at regular intermissions. Fundamentalists have acquired sophisticated arms, and training and developed a close network with rogue nations around the world. The new attempt by Quad will move in the right direction to increase the process of sharing information concerning new technologies and to develop strategic mechanisms such as dismantling the Drone attacks,inner-satellite data development, military and intelligence along with logistics facilities in case of any apprehension about the threat and ensure the security of Indo-Pacific Area.

This would also help resolve issues related to the funding of terrorist activities, and policing cooperation dealing with cyber threat secrecy through enhancing technological innovation and tightening border and maritime security information gathering. There have been continuing uncertainties about terrorism which compelled various countries to launch psychological warfare against terrorism in the past too. The London Economic Summit Conference, organized by NATO States and Japan a few years ago, proved to be another landmark for the eradication of terrorism, which decided that unless we attack the roots of terrorism, only superficial relief could be seen but violence would increase in the total quantum of its impact. The creation of general awareness and organization of public support against terrorist acts could be of immense use. Rapid international transportation and the use of sophisticated weapons have helped the expansion of terrorist networks globally. Besides, the new suicide squads have left the entire security apparatus shocked. As religiously-motivated attacks increase globally, the concept that one man’s terrorist can be another man’s freedom fighter must be done away with.

The new initiatives of Quad may also learn from experiences each other to combat terrorism. For example, the United States Patriot Act, of 2001, gave the country's security agencies powers to acquire information about communication networks and properties of terror suspects. In India, many attempts have been made to ensure the proper implementation of anti-terror laws and to encounter any form of terror. Security is an ever-changing landscape. The security apparatus needs to continuously upgrade itself to stay ahead of the terror groups. Importantly, they need to develop a capability that can anticipate the security needs of the future and in this regard still, there are serious security and political concern that need to be addressed.

(Writer is a Recipient of the Bharat Gaurav Award and is a Professor of Political Science and Strategic Affairs Expert. This is the first part of a two-part series on QUAD. -- To be continued)

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