The global dimension of India's anti-terror fight
By Murali Krishnan Feb 18, 2007, 11:22 GMT
New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan's remarks in Munich that there were instances of terrorists manipulating Indian bourses to raise funds underscore the global dimension anti-terror campaign must assume to secure the country's interests as an emerging world power.
Security establishment here believes that Narayanan's comments made at a security conference last week must be seen in the larger context of the emergence of a new breed of terrorists with trans-national reach and the necessity of evolving a foolproof international security dynamics.
With terrorism increasingly being viewed as an asymmetric form of warfare that will continue for the foreseeable future, the moot point is that international cooperation among states is a sine qua non and critical to defeat the scourge worldwide.
On more than one occasion, Narayanan has forcefully made the point that the security challenges the country faces were daunting and with India rising as a global and economic powerhouse as well as a major driver in Asia the need for effective structures becomes all the more imperative to face these kinds of threats.
In his reckoning, India's emergence as a global player was no longer confined to South Asia or the Asian region as the country enjoyed a unique position as a modernizing economy between the Mediterranean and the Pacific.
A few days before the Munich summit, Narayanan, while speaking on 'Asia's Global Foreign Policy and Security Interests' said the challenge of terrorism, fundamentalism and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation as well as cyber or maritime security deserved particular attention.
'In the past, we tended to underestimate this and to particularly neglect the prospect of their coming together. A greater awareness of the risks inherent in toleration of terrorism would contribute to a more secure Asia,' he said.
To substantiate this, Narayanan cited the Indian Ocean littoral and how it played a key role in determining India's policy perceptions in its security calculus.
'Half of the world's container shipping, one third of its bulk cargo and two-thirds of oil shipments pass through this ocean. Over 97 per cent of India's trade by volume and 75 per cent by value are transported through the sea route,' he said.
His larger point was that as maritime borders became more porous in the era of globalisation, India simply could not afford to ignore the dangers that oceans pose, providing opportunities for arms smuggling, drug trafficking, piracy, illegal migration and economic offences.
Even during his address at the Railway Protection Force seminar in November last year, Narayanan specifically dwelt on the threat posed by terrorists to transportation links, which could not be treated lightly.
His observations then were based on the deadly serial blasts in Mumbai's commuter trains, the attack on the Shramjeevi Express that killed twelve passengers and over half a dozen attempts made across the country at tampering with rail tracks.
Considering that terror attacks on mass transportation systems were largely viewed as a 'bleed-to-bankruptcy' movement of terrorists, Narayanan sought to point out that there were inherent difficulties in providing foolproof security.
With new support structures and mechanisms being created to bankroll terror, India, at this point, would only want closer cooperation with its international partners and regional organisations to prevent and combat international terrorism.
India already has in place joint working groups with 25 countries and organisations like the European Union and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia, for coordinating counter-terrorism efforts.
As different terror groups use multifarious methods to fund their activities, the urgency of greater vigilance and stricter provisions in banking channels had never been more demanding than now.
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service