Director General -Ambassador Prasad

Honourable Shri Manohar Parrikar

Ladies and Gentlemen:

 

Good morning

 

  • Thank you and honour - First of all, let me thank Ambassador Prasad for inviting me to this very important It is quite an honor and privilege to be the keynote speaker for the 19th Asian Security Conference.
  • Congratulations - Also, let me congratulate Amb Prasad, his colleagues and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) for developing the Asian Security Conference as a genuine and effective forum for our region and the global community to openly discuss the defining challenges of our collective security at present time.
  • Growing threat to our collective security - As thinkers and organizers of the conference rightly suggest, Ladies and gentlemen, our collective security in the region and the future of our children is seriously challenged by the growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism.
  • Intend to speak about Afghanistan- today, I intend to speak about Afghanistan and its immediate surrounding where terrorism does not only continue to take a heavy toll on Afghan people but it intends to threaten the entire region and the global

 

  • Moving sanctuaries into Afghanistan - Global regional, Pakistani and Afghan terrorists continue to move their sanctuaries from outside Afghanistan into the country to pursue their goals beyond
  • Not just for Afghanistan- Our fight against terrorism is therefore not just for our security but on behalf of the region and the world

 

Ladies and gentlemen:

  • Why does Afghanistan matter? The region we share with Pakistan has the highest concentration of terrorist networks anywhere in the world: 20 out of98 S.-designated terrorist groups globally are operating there to pursue their goals beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • What enables them to do so despite the ongoing US, NATO and Afghanistan CT mission is the presence of sanctuaries, symbiotic relations with other state and non-state actors providing crucial support

•  Success against terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan region is therefore of vital national security interest to every country of the region and d1e world community at large.

  • Lessons learned from the Afghan experience are therefore of vital importance to shape national, regional and global responses to the menace of terrorism at a time when we have a common enemy but not a common strategy to defeat
  • Four key points: Let me therefore my perspectives to contribute to the debates of d1e conference in four key points:

First, terrorism in our region is morphing to adapt in pursuit of its political and criminal-economic ends

•  Distinct ecology, system and industry- Since 9/11, the terrorism in the region has morphed producing a distinct ecology, system and industry.

  • Symbiotic axis- It is no longer, a lone wolf, a violent extremist organization or a rogue state alone; it is a symbiotic axis of violent extremism, criminal-economics and state sponsorship of
  • The four groups- In the Af-Pak region, we see four groups of terrorist networks: (1) Afghans including Taliban and the HQN, (2) Pakistanis such as LeT, JeM, TTP, LeJ, (3) Regional networks of IMU, ETIM and Ansarullah, and (4) Global such as AI Qaeda and
  • Symbiotic relationships with criminal and states- All of these groups have established symbiotic relationships among themselves but also with criminal-economic groups including narcotics and with secrete state
  • Sustainment- These relationships sustain them with Finance, recruitment and support structures.
  • Dispel the myths: looking at these facts, one will have to dispel the commonly held myths:
  1. Not a civil war- Afghanistan is not a civil war given the multiplicity of actors on the two sides. It is a drug war, it is a terrorist war, and it is also a state-to-state undeclared And it is not going to be confined to Afghanistan.
  2. Distinction between good and bad terrorism will produce Frankenstein 1onster and therefore a perpetrator will also be a
  3. Associating terrorism with Islam is technically wrong as it does not allow for true understanding, ethically immoral as it fails to appreciate the sacrifices of Muslims victims and those who have been fighting terrorism and politically unwise to alienate a natural ally­ Afghanistan partnership with US and NATO, the Islamic world and India against terrorism and the rejection of terrorism by Islamic world scholars in Mecca in 2015 are a case in
  • Implications: understanding the above facts will have important implications for a common strategy to counter-terrorism and peace and reconciliation.

Second, ironically, despite the CT globally, it has grown its capabilities to threaten our region and the world community,

  • Development of capabilities: Access to sanctuaries, financing, recruitment, training and other support enablers, through symbiotic relations with some state elements and criminal economic networks, has actually enabled the four groups of terror networks not only to survive CT operations but actually develop their lethal
  • Terror strength - We estimate the number of the fighters these groups have deployed at some 40,000 to 45,000 of whom roughly one fourth is foreign including global, regional and Pakistani Jehadists.
  • Displacement effect - The Pakistani operation of Zarb e Azb and the increased pressures on Daesh and AI Qaeda in the Middle East have had displacement effect leading to the concentration of these groups in Af-Pak
  • Common and individual terrorists' goals - Despite their common desire to destroy the Afghan state so that the can establish safe heavens in Afghanistan, these groups pursue individual goals against other
  • Every country of the region threatened - While AI Qaeda and Daesh pursue a global jehadi agenda, LeT and JeM are aimed against Regional actors such IMU, ETIM, and their associates increasingly threaten China, Russia, Iran and Central Asia.
  • Pakistan targeted Also, while most of the Pakistani based networks threaten security of other nations, the TIP and its splinter groups are waging violence in Pakistan.
  • Highest cost for Afghanistan Launched highest number of attacks in all regions and inflicted the highest number of casualties in the past one and half decades;
    • KIA: 10,432 (25% civilians) 10% increase over 2015, 28 persons a day,
    • Total KIA and WIA: 29,728 combined, (2% reduction), 81 persons a day
  • Held our ground Despite this high cost, we have held our ground defending Afghanistan and the region.
  • Grateful- to S., NATO, India, China and Russia for their support
  • Stalemate -True there is stalemate but Afghanistan is fighting and holding its ground with less than one tenth of the international troops deployed between 2009 and 2014 and no change in the sanctuary

 

Third, the inadequacy of response has made the terrorism challenge of our time even worse,

  • Breakdown of regional consensus The most serious danger to the regional and world security comes from the continued breakdown of regional consensus over terrorism as result of disputes, rivalries and Incompatible interests elsewhere.
  • Three points of consensus- The consensus so far has been: (1) no distinction between good and bad terrorists, (2) the centrality of state-to-state relations and cooperation In CT and (3) security for all against terror
  • Selectivity- We see selectivity and the distinction between good and bad terrorists these da
  • A new trend among some regional actors to work with Afghan Taliban against apparently D
  • Wrong policy will backfire- A wrong policy that will certainly backfire:

 

  • Taliban Still continue to kill
  • All other terrorists including their enemies are able to operate from the Af-Pak region because of Taliban and state tolerance of sanctuari

 

  • Contacts for peace and not for war we have urged our regional partners to use their contacts with Taliban for peace and not for war.

 

Fourth, a common strategy against a common enemy is the only way to save our nations, our region and the world community against terrorism.

·        Common understanding- Given the growing evidence, the starting point should be a common understanding of our common enemy.

  • Some highlights- The purpose is to highlight some key dimensions and principles of the common strategy:
  • Generational challenge: there is an emerging consensus that it is likely to be a generational challenge for the next two decades.
  • Four level action- A coordinated strategy of diplomatic, security and development actions at four levels: global, Islamic, regional and national
  1. End sponsorship and tolerance- the number one priority of the strategy should be ending sponsorship of terrorism by persuasion or coercion actions against states and individuals.
  2. Coordinated responses - Coordinated intelligence, military and diplomatic responses to remove sanctuaries, recruitment, training, equipping and financing infrastructure,
  3. National action to address the governance, poverty and educational challenges,
  4. Regional support for CT- Support for the S., NATO and Afghan CT operations -

5.   Peace and Reconciliation -Afghan peace and reconciliation based on Afghan constitution and renunciation of violence and ties with foreign terrorists is key to broader CT.

 

 

Thank you

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