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archive: Global axis against terrorism taking shape

Global axis against terrorism taking shape

Seema Guha
Times of India
September 15, 1999


    Title: Global axis against terrorism taking shape
    Author: Seema Guha
    Publication: Times of India
    Date: September 15, 1999
    
    NEW DELHI: US State Department co-ordinator for counter-terrorism
    Michael Sheehan will arrive here on Friday to hold talks with Indian
    officials. He will meet Alok Prasad, joint secretary in charge of the
    Americas, and Vivek Katju who oversees Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
    
    The two Indian officials were in Washington earlier this month to
    review the situation in Afghanistan and ways to end the instability
    which has fuelled the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the region.
    The spillover effect of the Taliban has had repercussions in India,
    Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as well as in China. During the
    discussions here, India is certain to point a finger at Pakistan which
    remains one of the staunchest supporters of the Islamic regime in
    Kabul.
    
    The scourge of terrorism and its baleful influence in countries as far
    apart as the US, India, Russia, China and Central Asian states have
    given an urgency to international attempts at combating it. India is
    hoping to reap rich dividends.
    
    Foreign ministers of 16 Asian nations, meeting in Kazakhstan on
    Tuesday, pledged to ``counter and eradicate all sources of terrorism''
    and refrain from assisting terrorist groups in one another's
    countries. Also early Tuesday morning, during a brief stopover for
    refuelling here, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, who had cut
    short his visit to Auckland and was flying back home, met national
    security adviser Brajesh Mishra. Putin rushed back home after a second
    bomb blast in Moscow this week, which authorities suspect was the work
    of terrorist groups. The two spoke of the threat posed to the entire
    region by terrorist outfits operating out of Taliban-controlled
    Afghanistan and Pakistan. Russia has been facing the brunt of militant
    Islamic groups in Chechneya, Dagestan and Moscow. India, faced with
    similar problems in Kashmir and the north-east, has extended full
    support and sympathy to Russia. Mishra and Putin criticised the ``open
    endorsement'' of militant groups like the Lashkar-i-Toiba by a senior
    Pakistan minister. 
    
    Events in Dagestan and the two successive blasts in Russia have added
    a sense of urgency among the countries of the region to join hands in
    the fight against extremism. One of the resolutions adopted on Tuesday
    by the Kazakhstan conference hopes to get to the heart of the problem.
    The resolution called member-states not to give either direct or
    indirect assistance - military, economic or political - to groups
    trying to overthrow legitimate governments. The participants at the
    Conference for Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia
    (CICA) declared a special commitment to wiping out terrorism from the
    world's most populous continent, home to 3.5 billion people.
    
    ``Asia is torn apart by conflicts and mistrust,'' said Kazakhstan's
    president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who first proposed the forum in 1992.
    ``A special importance must be attached to terrorism because of the
    volatile situation in Asia today.''
    
    The conference includes Russia and former Soviet states like
    Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. The other members
    are China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran, Israel,
    Egypt, Turkey and the Palestinian administration.
    
    In his speech, external affairs minister Jaswant Singh also focussed
    on the dangers of terrorism. ``Our region is also regrettably home to
    many terrorist groups who recognise no frontiers. Can we work
    collectively to counter the growing threat of cross-border terrorism
    in Asia. These are some of the potential areas of cooperation for
    us,'' he said.
    



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