Noting that South Asia has been wracked by activities of the world's biggest terrorist actors like Al-Qaeda and its various affiliates, India today stressed the need for strengthening cooperation and coordination between countries to counter terror and bring perpetrators of terrorist acts to justice.
Addressing the Fifth UN CTED Regional Workshop on South Asia for Effectively Countering Terrorism which began here today, Asoke Mukerji, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, said the regional efforts to counter terrorism continue to face significant challenges though there are various SAARC frameworks on suppression of terrorism since 1987.
He said the challenges included uneven implementation of the international and regional counter terrorism frame work, lack of necessary political do to denying terrorist safe havens. Disrupt their financial flows and support networks and cooperation among states in bringing perpetrators of terrorist acts to justice.
"There are serious questions about the capacity of the state structures and their ability to deal with terrorism and extremism. It is important that where States have the institutions and capacities, they must clamp down on terrorism," Mukerji said.
The three-day workshop, hosted by India in association with the UN's Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), is being organised by Observer Research Foundation along with the Center for Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, New York.
Mukerji also reiterated India's call for adopting a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to strengthen the normative framework.
At the same time, Mukerji also reminded the delegates attending the three-day conference about the Outcome Document of the Counter Terrorism Committee, of which India is the Chair now, that re-affirms that "Member States must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law".
The UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director of the CTED, Mike Smith, also underlined the need to strengthen the cooperation among countries to counter terror as it is difficult to fight terrorists with hands tied-down. He also spoke of the importance criminal justice system in breaking the backbone of terrorism.
"South Asian States have made considerable progress in their domestic counter-terrorism efforts, but it is essential to continue to develop and strengthen mechanisms to support regional law enforcement officials," Mr. Smith said. "When it comes to terrorism, a grave threat to international peace and security, there is no room for complacency," he added.
As terrorist organizations and their strategies and modus operandi keep on changing, there is an urgent need for building and nurturing institutions of flexibility with new information inflows, said Mr. Sunjoy Joshi, Director, Observer Research Foundation.
Denmark's Ambassador to India, Freddy Svane, the Director of Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, Alistair Millar and the President of the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, Farooq Sobhan, also spoke about the need for cooperation among countries to fight terrorism.
The workshop with the theme of 'Effectively Countering Terrorism' is being attended by senior police officers, prosecutors and judges from all the SAARC countries. It is also participated by a Director from the SAARC Secretariat, resource persons and observers from INTERPOL, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the European Commission, the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Governments of Australia, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States.(ANI)