REGIONAL AND GLOBAL TERRORIST THREATS: THE WAY OUT

Seminar organized by the Centre for Research into Rural and Industrial Development, the Kurginyan Centre of Moscow and ML Sondhi Memorial Committee

8th-9th November 2005

Chandigarh

 

The seminar was formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India on November 9th, and also addressed by the Chief Ministers and Governors of Punjab and Haryana.

 

It witnessed lively interactions between Russian, Israeli, Pakistani, Nepalese and Indian delegates, reflecting their divergent encounters with terror and the lack of a comprehensive and universal definition of terrorism. Although the guests were comfortable with the working definition of terrorism at the use of violence against innocent civilians for political or other ends, the Indian legal representative pointed out that the UN had many suggested definitions none of which were yet regarded as definitive. Hence it was not possible to evolve a legal response to the phenomenon, which remained open to multiple interpretations.

 

A critique was also offered of the ‘global’ war on terror: it was pointed out that the causes of terrorism are always local. The Sri Lankan Tamils, the Palestinians, the Nepalese Maoists and the IRA are responding to problems born out of local particularities and in that sense terrorism is not a global phenomenon. But it was counter-argued that operationally all terrorist groups are now interconnected if not mutually supportive, and that global or international cooperation was necessary to cope with these challenges. However with the complexity of the interconnected world, various paradoxical situations arise such as the USA’s alliances with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – the one the financier and possibly central director of many Islamic terrorist groups, and the other the training ground for terrorists who fan into all quarters of the globe.

 

The seminar ended with a resolution to continue the discussion on the regional and global manifestations of terrorism by the concerned institutions, by agreeing to meet at periodic intervals on a regular basis.