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International Conference on ‘Addressing the Challenge of International Terrorism and Radicalisation’

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  • November 23, 2016
    1030 to 1300 hrs

    Venue: IDSA Auditorium (Second Floor)

    Concept Note

    As the foremost threat to international peace and security, global terrorism is an implacably complex, intractable and suigeneris phenomena. As the origins, scope and impact of the global menace extend beyond conventional security and military paradigms — covering religious, political, socio-economic, demographic and at times historical vectors — a purely militaristic and security-centeric response to the threat often lags behind the proverbial curve.

    Thus, even after decades of militarily defeating and destroying various bases and their human and material assets, the swamp of terrorism continues to spew new forms of violence on the global scene, ever more adept in unusual modes of asymmetric warfare and worldwide appeal.

    In addition, the increased ideological, military, logistical and financial support provided by certain states to non-state terrorist outfits as part of their covert, sub-conventional warfare directed against peace-loving nations remains a matter of serious international and humanitarian concern today. The time has come to universally reject the use of terrorism as state policy by any country, irrespective of real or perceived injustice. Terrorism must be denounced unequivocally and without any pre-conditions. The classification of ‘good terrorism’ vis-à-vis ‘bad terrorism’ also needs to be summarily dismissed.

    As terrorism threatens the unity and territorial integrity of various Asian countries — particularly those in West Asia, South Asia and Central Asia — the importance of reinformed efforts in the fight against radicalisation and terrorism both at the individual and regional levels cannot be overstated. It is noteworthy that several governments of these regions have already launched indigenous counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation campaigns that have achieved varying degrees of success. Clearly, there is room for greater effectiveness and cooperation among these countries inter and intra-regionally. We must also make an earnest endeavour to learn from eachothers’ experiences, especially given the evolutionary nature of both the threat and the ensuing responses.

    As the threat of terrorism metastasises into rapidly morphing and ever more virulent forms, there remain several blind spots and shades of confusion in counter-terrorism operations conducted by various agencies nationally and internationally. The situation underscores the importance of greater clarity, coordination and even collaboration of counter-terrorist campaigns among countries to combat global jihadism with transnational linkages. There is a need to properly define, identify, and effectively reverse the processes that produce and catalyse radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism.

    To begin with, it is essential to unravel the character arc of a typical terrorist, from the time of the germination of radical thought to the person’s transition to violent action. In other words, there is a need to explore various theoretical models and frameworks that counterradicalisation experts of various countries have developed to explain the transition of an ordinary citizen into a radical and violent extremist or terrorist, in order to understand the motivations and circumstances that abet the transformation. The study has become all the more important with growing threats of home-grown terrorism in various countries and rising incidents of lone-wolf attacks.

    The institutions, forums and mediums required to facilitate constant exchange of experience and expertise among soldiers and counter-terrorism experts, thereby aiding each other with the latest updates, research and operational know-how at the inter-state, inter-regional and intra-regional levels is the need of the hour. Efforts are needed to build and nurture relevant mechanisms. The limitations of the international system in this regard need to be studied and effectively addressed.

    Another cardinal point is the constant monitoring and analyses of the constantly evolving extremist discourse and the changing objectives in order to develop effective counternarratives on a sustained basis, as part of comprehensive strategic communication programs.

    The irony of employing information technology and new media to effectively spread the contagion of atavistic discourse and the use of the most advanced psy-ops techniques, as well as hybridised fourth generation warfare, demands intensive study and analyses. The prospective threat of a CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) attack, which is an increasingly disconcerting and imminent danger, remains a critical field for study.

    It is difficult to overemphasise the need for developing relevant legal, institutional and social structures, institutions and mechanisms that countervail the global outreach of terrorism. The role of civil society, moderate religious groups, and non-government organisations in dredging the morass of extremism through community outreach programs, public relation campaigns, educational courses, employment counselling sessions, interactive cultural and sports programs, etc. need to be explored to the fullest extent possible.

    Thus, it is by developing and deploying a diverse and comprehensive, and simultaneously, highly coherent and synergised intra-regional counter-terrorism policies − with the involvement of various countries, important think tanks, and relevant experts and influential leaders of all communities – that an effective counterpunch can be delivered to the growing monstrosity of jihadism so that the proverbial swamp of violent extremism could be effectively drained.


    9:30 - 10:00        Registration

    10:00 -10:45      Inaugural Session

    • Welcome Remarks (Shri Jayant Prasad, Director General, IDSA)
    • Opening Address by Shri N.N. Vohra, Honourable Governor of Jammu and Kashmir

    10:45 - 11:00     Tea Break

    11:00 - 13:00     Session I: The Ideological Frontier against Terror - Chairperson: Ambassador Chinmaya Gharekhan

    • Counter Radicalisation: Conceptual Confusions in an Ideological War - Dr Adil Rasheed, Research Fellow, IDSA
    • Global Jihad: Present Trends and Future Scenarios - Dr. Mostafa Zahrani, Director General of Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iran
    • Impact of Syrian Conflict on Islamic Radicalisation - Prof Haldun Yalcinkaya, Senior Researcher and Coordinator for Security Studies Program ORSAM

    13:00-14:00       Lunch Break

    14:00-15:30       Session II: Contours of Radicalisation in the “Heart of Asia” - Chairperson: Prof S D Muni, Distinguished Fellow, IDSA

    • Impact of Radicalisation in Central Asia and Afghanistan - Ambassador Abdusamat Khaydarov, Head of Office, UNAMA
    • Combating State Backed Cross-Border Terrorism - Dr. Davood Moradian, Afghanistan, Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies.
    • Radicalisation in India: Impact of Regional Dimensions - Ms. Prabha Rao, Senior Fellow, IDSA

    15:30-15:45        Tea Break

    15:45-17:00       Session III: Country Studies of Counter-Terrorist Initiatives - Chairperson: Cmde C Uday Bhaskar (Retd)

    • Countering Radical Ideology in Asia: Chinese Perspectives - Dr. Yan Shuai, Assistant Professor, CICIR, Beijing, China
    • Radicalisation and its Impact on the Pakistan: - Dr. Ashok Behuria, Senior Fellow, IDSA

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