Relevance and use of the article in UPSC prelims and mains examination: Dear aspirants, internal security is a major concerned issue. Every bureaucrat and diplomat have to develop a potential to think rationally on these issues because sometimes these people have to directly deal with these issues,Now Terrorism has swiftly outsmarted geographical confines, and this explains the spurt in multilateral cooperation on counterterrorism. In light of appalling terrorist activities in her backyard and the ongoing truculence in Jammu and Kashmir, it is now time for India to take a leadership role in shaping South Asia’s counterterrorism strategy.lets see how The subregion can do much more to combat the threat, and How India Can Lead South Asia’s Efforts to combat terrorism.
- As part of this effort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Chaired BRICS leaders’ outreach meeting with BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) counterparts in Goa and he is also pushing an early ratification of the BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
- Terrorism in South Asia has been seeded in trends of religious extremism, proxy wars and state sponsorship, and this warrants a comprehensive scheme tailored to its unique social, cultural, and political needs.
SAARC’s inadequacies and rise of BIMSTEC
- As SAARC’s embarrassing inadequacies are increasingly coming to the fore, can BIMSTEC be the next best bet to forge counterterrorism cooperation in this region.
- A vital prerequisite for this to happen is India acting in the capacity of a front runner in counterterrorism initiatives. This may sound ambitious, but the likelihood of this eventuality cannot be ruled out.
South Asia grappling with terrorism:
- Afghanistan is still trying to emerge from the grips of Taliban.
- 12 Nepalese soldiers were killed by terrorists in Kabul in June.
- India is yet to fully strategize on counterterrorism.
- Dhaka saw one of the biggest jihadist attacks at the Holey Artisan Bakery in July this year .
- Bhutan was a refuge for NDFB terrorists until they initiated a stern crackdown, so was Burma.
- The Maldives, meanwhile stands at a toxic brink against the backdrop of civil unrest from Abdulla Yameen declining support.
- Sri Lanka has had extremists under the larger umbrella of the Tamil Tigers carry out suicide bombings, assassinations and massacres until their defeat in 2009.
- Mauritius faced a security threat earlier this year when ISIS directly channeled a mail to their Prime Minister’s Office.
Regional counterterrorism cooperation efforts in South Asia:
- SAARC attempted to implement measures against terrorism in the shape of the 1987 Regional Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, which was updated in 2006 by an Additional Protocol.
- These measures include setting up of the Terrorist Offenses Monitoring Desk or STOMD, the Drugs Offenses Monitoring Desk or SDOMD, and the Expert Group on Networking between Police Authorities.
- It is limited to forbidding discussion on bilateral issues (for instance, the question of J&K) and continued obstruction by Pakistan.
- Coupled with this is Islamabad’s inability to disband support to terrorist organizations which are freely prospering on her soil; this lies at the very heart of South Asian security threats.
- Other states in the region cannot wait any longer for Pakistan to rectify her course.
Role of BIMSTEC
- BIMSTEC member states entered into the Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking, but only India and Bangladesh ratified it.
- The Joint Working Group on Counterterrorism and Transnational Crime or JWG-CTTC under BIMSTEC is comprised of four sub groups on intelligence sharing, combating terrorist financing, prevention of illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals and legal and law enforcement issues.
Mere signing of treaties is not enough to combat terrorism much more is needed.
- The real battle is to gather political will and align forces. The BIMSTEC counterterrorism machinery, should not entirely discard the window of external and multilateral assistance.
- However regional efforts should not be dependent on other states or even the United Nations.
- One can deliberate on the possible ways in fostering such intersectional partnerships, but BIMSTEC member states should not base their counterterrorism narrative entirely or even largely on these.
- Completing what could be now characterized as the half-baked groundwork on counterterrorism is important not only for its own sake, but because it could be used as the starting point to further bolster South Asian security cooperation.
- National and regional strategies are two complementary parallels for any successful counterterrorism machinery.
- The former includes legislative tools and policing, while the latter includes regional strategic integration, collective action, and law and enforcement convergence between states.
BIMSTEC member states approach:
- Get rid of it is by pooling regional forces.
- Should engage in dialogue and work towards building consensus on policy, modus operandi, law and intelligence sharing.
- A regional forum on counterterrorism should be set up with sharp division of duties, a special counterterrorism task force should be effectuated and joint military and paramilitary exercises should be initiated for sterner border control.
India is the obvious choice to lead counterterrorism initiatives.
- India is the only state that shares borders with all other member states. Though some have listed India-centeredness to be one of the problematic features of South Asian security environment, this arguably only warrants India assuming greater responsibility to combat terrorism in South Asia.
- Given its economic might, political will and geographic reach, now is the time for India to not only strengthen her own counterterrorism efforts but also lead the regional counterterrorism superstructure. This will definitely mandate a lot of backbreaking by India and she also needs to take this not as a bid at self-enrichment but as a battle against terrorism.
- India via BIMSTEC should outline her efforts in targeting every single frontier of terrorist organizations in terms of funding, training, weapons, sanctuaries, mobility, communication channels and most importantly, ideology.
Question For mains:
A term ‘regional security complex’, which suitably explains South Asian security dynamics. There is a need to produce sturdy institutional machinery on counterterrorism for this region.Why it is precisely the ripe time to talk about real regional counterterrorism cooperation. What role india can paly. Discuss.
- Discuss about the scenario of terrorism in India and south asian region.
- How vastly it is affecting countries.
- Failure of countries as well as regional blocks fail to overcome this problem.
- Need of new ‘regional security complex’ under india’s leadership.
- Role of BIMSTEC.
- Suggestions and new approach.
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