Countering the Scourge of Terrorism

Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is a serious global threat to humanity, irrespective of geographical boundaries. In today’s globalised world, terrorism has become the greatest security concern to the international community, which is not confined to one country or one region or one continent.

Terrorist activities are against fundamental values of liberty, humanity, freedom and universal brotherhood. Terrorism not only causes loss of precious lives of innocent people but also disrupts society’s progress and country’s development. It undermines the overarching value of ‘basudhaiva kutumbakam’ on which our civilisation was founded.

We have experienced grave consequences of terrorism in our region. As the number of terrorist outfits and their sophistication and technology grows, threats of terrorist attacks on any given day becomes all the more possible. In today’s interconnected world, terrorism does not have boundary.

Incidents of terrorist violence in our region over the past decades have made us vulnerable and this calls for our united action in countering this menace. The activities of larger network of terrorist organisations at global scale and their reported expansion in the Asia Pacific region provides us the reason to be extra vigilant to counter the threats and  to ensure the security of our people in the region.

Terrorist networks are trying to spread their wings. But we must be able to nab them and dismantle them. Acts of terrorism cannot be condoned. No pretexts, be it political, ideological, or any other, can justify such senseless and horrific acts. It is of utmost importance that law enforcing machineries in all countries cooperate and collaborate in identifying terrorists and defeating terrorism. We all must, in a united and unreserved manner, demonstrate commitment at the highest level to stop terrorist acts and bring perpetrators to justice.

As the world is shrinking day-by-day due to technological advancement, especially in communications and mobility, we cannot protect our citizens unless we work together to strengthen our national, regional and global security environment. In this age of inevitable interconnectedness, mobility of people around the world is a reality. Safety, security and welfare of every individual is our common responsibility, humanity’s common concern. Killings and brutality are totally unacceptable acts that have to be condemned in the strongest possible terms and countered with all resolute measures.

In 2004, twelve Nepali people seeking employment in Iraq were captured and brutally killed by terrorists. In 2016, thirteen Nepalis were killed when a suicide bomber struck a minibus carrying Nepali security guards in Kabul. Such heartbreaking acts of terrorism have victimised thousands of innocent peoples, in one way or the other, within their national boundary as well as across the boundaries. The transnational nature of terrorism should be recognised and countered with national, regional, and global perspective and capabilities.

Every country, therefore, should formulate counter-terrorism strategies by detecting the occurrence of radicalisation, possible recruitment for Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF), exploitation of internet and various social media platforms by terrorist organisations, misuse of borders, terrorist financing, and forged identity documents. Radicalisation through social media is a rising threat. We need to enhance our capacity to monitor and counter such activities.

These measures should be complemented by stringent legislative framework to deter and disrupt all types of terrorist activities. Between governments and law enforcement agencies, close coordination and cooperation must be ensured including on intelligence and technology sharing to enhance counter terrorism capability. Needless to say, terrorism anywhere is a serious threat to peace, security and development everywhere. Terrorism is a shared security concern not only of the national authorities but also of the international community.

Nepal unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever, whenever and for whatever purposes it occurs and whoever commits terrorist acts. Nepal calls for resolute international actions in the fight against terrorism. Nepal never allows her land to be exploited by any groups which try to carry out terrorist activities anywhere in our region or beyond. We have underscored time and again that terrorism should never be used as a means to achieve a goal. It is also important that we never allow propagation of terrorism in our region. As a member of the United Nations, SAARC and BIMSTEC, Nepal has signed several international conventions on counter-terrorism, including on   aircraft safety, maritime safety, against taking hostages, as well as the UN Security Council Resolutions. Nepal remains fully committed to implementing them despite the constraints of resources and technical capabilities.

In terms of national capability, Nepal has enhanced her security infrastructure and the fully trained security personnel are prepared to meet the emerging security demands, including prevention of any form of terrorist attack. Nepal remains committed to work in concert with the international community in realisinga world, free from the evils of terrorism.

We need to have serious deliberations regarding the existing and future challenges posed by regional, as well as global terrorism; assess information sharing capabilities; and renew urgent calls for the promotion of regional and multilateral cooperation to combat larger dimensions of threat posed by terrorism. Nepal will resolutely join hands with all countries in countering the scourge of senseless acts of terrorism.

(This article is a summary of the address made by Shri Bimalendra Nidhi, Hon’ble Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs of Nepal on March 14, 2017 at Counter-Terrorism Conference – 2017, organised by India Foundation at New Delhi)