Sunday 23 July 2023

Terror must not find shelter (The Sunday Guardian)

 As the 2023 Chairman of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Prime Minister Narendra Modi was clear in his opening speech at the SCO Summit that terror has no excuse, and must be given no shelter anywhere. If several terror groups remain active despite the international effort to suppress them since the 9/11 attack in the United States in 2001, the reason is that several such groups find shelter in different countries. Just as the LTTE was in Sri Lanka during the two decades that it was active, it was because the organisation was adept at using various arguments to ensure some protector or the other at different points in time. Even the faith that Velupillai Prabhakaran and his assistant Anton Balasingham belonged to was used to persuade some groups to support them. There is no doubt that since the time of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike in the 1950s, Tamil-speaking Sri Lankans found themselves getting reduced to second-class citizens, with even the Tamil language, among the most expressive and ancient in the world, coming under attack in the country. As a consequence, migration of the Tamil-speaking population of Sri Lanka took place on a rising scale. Most relocated to India, but many went to Canada and some European countries as well, where their skills and industry won them success. However, none of this justifies the campaign of terror, in which mostly innocent civilians perished, that was launched by the LTTE to wrest an independent Tamil Eelam which Prabhakaran would rule.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is right. There can be no justification, no safe haven, given to the facilitators and practitioners of terror. Countries that shelter terror groups for reasons that usually have to do with causing harassment to another need to stop such a practice. Equally, those found guilty of assisting such groups need to be sanctioned. There are safe havens being provided to known terror groups by two countries whose leaders have tacitly approved such a deviation from internationally acceptable modes of conduct. Thus far, no sanctions have been imposed on any of the individuals involved in training, funding and equipping such groups, even by countries that have been swift to impose the most severe of sanctions on citizens belonging to a few countries. Such a Nelson’s Eye to terror groups that continue to kill innocents elsewhere needs to be avoided. If even a few of the individuals facilitating such groups in just Pakistan and China were to be sanctioned, such a move would have a dampening effect on such un-neighbourly behaviour. Quiet diplomacy needs to be carried out by India to ensure that such accountability takes place. As has so often been said, terror anywhere is a threat everywhere. The sooner Prime Minister Modi’s words to the SCO leaders get actioned on, including by countries not part of the group, the sooner will victory in the war on terror come
As for the way in which the CCP has appropriated to itself the cloak of Chinese culture and tradition that goes back several millennia, the reality is that the culture favoured by the CCP cannot in any way be held as representative of traditional Chinese culture. In contrast, traditional culture remains vibrant in India, and as a consequence, there remain many points of contact between the two traditional cultures. This is especially the case with many Overseas Chinese, who have held on to their traditions in a way that those who have been under CCP rule since 1949 have proved unable to do. The obstacle standing in the way of a close people-to-people centred relationsahip between China and India is the expansionist urge of the CCP. Unfortunately for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, such a policy has been put on steroids by Xi Jinping, in contrast to India, which has remained steadfast in eschewing expansionism of its own while resisting efforts at expansionism from outside.

Terror must not find shelter

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