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Networking is key to fight terror: Experts
A Correspondent in New Delhi | September 24, 2005 23:13 IST
The importance of networking the international community into an effective tool in fighting global jihadi terrorism was the underlying theme of speeches at a function on Saturday under the joint auspices of Singapore-based publishers Pearson Longman and International Terrorism Watch Programme of the Observer Research Foundation to mark the release of International Terrorism in S E Asia: Implications for South Asia.
The publication contains the various papers presented by well-known experts of India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, the US and Turkey at a two-day workshop.
Wilson John and Swati Parashar have edited the publication.
Former head of India's external intelligence agency Research & Analysis Wing G C Saxena released the book.
High Commissioner of Singapore in India Chak Mun See gave a keynote speech.
Speaking after the release, Saxena narrated India's experience in dealing successfully with terrorism of various kinds-- particularly with terrorist activities of Pakistan-based organisations allied with al Qaeda.
He underlined the importance of trans-national networking of counter-terrorism agencies.
While underlining that al Qaeda itself has not so far been able to gather any significant support in India's second largest Muslim community in the world after Indonesia's, he stressed the important role that moderate leaders of the Muslim community could play in countering the activities of terrorist organisations.
Former commander-in-chief of Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet Command retired vice admiral Premvir Das spoke on Terrorism in S E Asia: The Maritime Dimension.
Das, who traced the maritime terrorist activities of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, al Qaeda and other organisations, drew attention to the likely impact on the global trade and economy and on energy security if effective action is not taken through regional and international co-operation to develop capability to prevent and pre-empt possible acts of maritime terrorism.
He explained the maritime security architecture which has already come into being in the S E Asian region and India's association with the architecture through bilateral and other agreements concluded with some of the countries of the region.
The Singapore HC highlighted the relevance of some of the techniques followed by Malaysia during it counter-insurgency campaign against the Communist insurgency for providing an ideological dimension to the counter-terrorism campaign in addition to the security dimension.
While explaining the counter-terrorism cooperation mechanism, which has come into being under the Association of South-East Asian Nations, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Asia Pacific Economic Co-Operation, he referred to the latest understanding reached by Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia for an eye in the sky aerial surveillance mechanism for strengthening the security of shipping in the Malacca Strait area.
In his concluding remarks, rediff.com columnist and terrorism expert B Raman, who chaired the function, referred to the future projects of the ITWP in the fields of International Terrorism in Central Asia and Its Likely Implications for South Asia, Future Terrorism: Likely Scenarios and Capabilities Required and a follow-up workshop on maritime counter-terrorism.
This follow-up workshop, when held, will focus on threats of maritime terrorism to India's trade and energy security from the Gulf area.
Later, talking to rediff.com, Raman said India is no longer alone in the fight against the Lashkar e Toiba, the Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisation, which is an active member of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front and has been providing volunteers of Pakistani origin for acts of suicide terrorism by the al Qaeda in different parts of the world.
Since 9/11, sleeper cells or secret members or associates of the LeT have been unearthed in many countries such as Australia, Singapore, the United States and France and the international community has been taking increasing notice of its activities and their implications for its counter-terrorism campaign.
While talking about the recent conference in Israel, which he attended, he said one of the main highlights of the conference was a panel discussion on the Ramifications of the London Bombings, which was chaired by Shabtai Shavit, former director-general of Israel's external intelligence agency MOSSAD from 1989 to 1996.
The other members of the panel were Dr James M Hart, Commissioner of Police, City of London, Dr Bruce Hoffman, Corporate Chairman, Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency and Director of the Rand Corporation's Washington DC Office, Michael Whine, Director of Communications, Community Security Trust, UK, Dr Boaz Ganor, former Director of the ICT and presently Deputy Dean, Lauder School of Government, Herzliya.
In his introductory remarks at the panel on September 14, Shavit made a reference to the activities of the LeT in the context of the international fight against al Qaeda and Dr Hoffman, who is considered the world's leading authority on the al Qaeda, inter alia highlighted the role and the activities of the LeT during his presentation.
The interest taken by India in the activities of international terrorist organisations in South-East Asia and the increasing concern of the rest of the world over the Pakistan-based activities of the LeT not only in Indian territory, but also in other countries of the world are indicators of the way counter-terrorism agencies and experts of different countries, which have been victims of international jihadi terrorism, have been networking with each other in order to effectively counter the international jihadi terrorist network.
'It takes a network to beat a network" is the motto of the ICT of Herzliya, Israel.
This motto has become the guiding principle of all counter-terrorism agencies of the world since 9/11.