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Twin threats of fundamentalism and terrorism in South Asia

Twin threats of fundamentalism and terrorism in South Asia
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First Published: Fri, May 04 2007. 09 04 AM IST
Updated: Mon, Aug 06 2007. 02 28 PM IST
New Delhi: South Asian region has been the target of diverse terrorist threats and main arena of transnational terrorism for decades. Porous borders and religious and ethnic affiliations in this region make it extremely difficult to detect or check cross border movement of terrorist groups.
Politically motivated terrorism launched across international borders has become a common phenomenon in this region, making it necessary to identify sponsors of terrorism and their future plans. The pattern of operations and modus operandi of the terrorist organizations and the domestic supporters involved must be assessed realistically for meeting the threat effectively.
Emergence of Islamic terrorism and numerous militant ethnic groups in the last few decades has aggravated factional and communal divides. Islamic terrorism needs special attention because of a highly complex mix of Muslim and non-Muslim populations of the South Asian region.
Despite the global war against terrorism, all the major Islamic terrorist groups here are still intact and have a very large support base. There is now increasing evidence to suggest that they are in a position to further expand their activities in the region.
Expanding network of terrorist groups
Extended southern Asian region, comprising Xingjian, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, are presently the main cauldron of Islamic and separatist terrorist activities. Terrorism now poses a challenge never faced by the international community before and with terrorists better placed to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction, the situation could not be more grave and alarming.
To take a long-term view of terrorism and its management is important to understand the nature of terrorism and it’s rapidly changing forms. This is not easy because of the dynamic variables that make developing of a precise system difficult. A Universally acceptable definition of terrorism is yet to be found. Even the United Nations while defining terrorism describes only broad characteristics of terrorism, stopping short of a comprehensive definition.
The primary purpose of Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India has been to wrest Kashmir away from India. Towards this end Pakistan has worked assiduously to isolate people of Kashmir morally and physically from the national mainstream. It is necessary to identify the overall pattern of operations and modus operandi of the terrorist organizations for determining long-term threats.
Vulnerabilities within India
The main targets of terrorist attacks in India have been religious institutions and places of worship; common people especially in large urban centres; industrial infrastructure, communication and transportation systems; administrative infrastructure and military establishments and political institutions and leadership.
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First Published: Fri, May 04 2007. 09 04 AM IST