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'How do we fight an enemy we can't define'

March 17, 2017 21:00 IST

India has expressed dismay at the United Nations' continued struggle to find a definition for terrorism, saying there seems to be more cooperation between terrorist groups than the countries fighting them.

Singling out terrorism as the one major obstacle to a path to economic prosperity, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar on Thursday said that India will not allow the forces of violence in its neighbourhood to succeed.

"India has become the pivotal power of the 21st century because this century will be controlled by which shape Asia takes. If the forces that inspire violence begin to expand, the implications are very grave. We won't allow it, because of our security prowess, our belief system, our philosophy. The world must recognise, participate and join India in this battle," he said in an address to an audience of MPs and peers at the House of Commons complex on 'India in the changing world'.

During the event hosted by Indian-origin Labour MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on India Virendra Sharma on Thursday, the minister also expressed dismay at the UN' continued struggle to find a definition for terrorism since 1996.

"How do we fight an enemy we can't define," he questioned. "It is an unfortunate fact, and I have evidence, that there is probably more international cooperation between different terrorist groups than between the nations who are fighting terrorism," he said.

The minister called on multilateral frameworks like the UN to recognise the need to reflect the realities of the 21st century.

"No international institution can remain mired in the past. We believe that there has to be, in all international fora, a re-examination and finding a purpose for the 21st century," he said, making a reference to India's aspirations for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

"India is on a mission that is a search for prosperity. But prosperity and its first cousin development are not enough to describe what Indians want. India wants a prosperity that is shared, it wants it within and internationally," Akbar said in his speech.

Making a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first speech in Parliament, he articulated the government's vision as "poverty elimination" over poverty alleviation.

The senior BJP leader highlighted how Modi's "radical thinking" had led to reforms across different sectors, which were transforming the lives of ordinary people.

"Miracles are happening...the mobile phone is becoming the greatest instrument, not only of literacy but economic transaction. The digital revolution is bringing about a radical change in the lives of the poor," he said.

The author and Rajya Sabha MP is in the UK for the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group summit on Friday and also held talks with UK ministers Priti Patel and Alok Sharma earlier in the week.

Representative image

Aditi Khanna
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