Unite for security: Counterterrorism cooperation should transcend political divides
Posted on April 28th, 2019

Courtesy The Times of India

As Sri Lanka continues to investigate the Easter serial bombings, alert needs to be maintained across the region. Fresh violence shook Sri Lanka last Friday when security forces raided a bomb workshop in Kalmunai in the country’s east. Gun battles and explosions rocked the area; at least 16 people are reported killed. Another raid saw the recovery of flags and literature belonging to transnational terror outfit Islamic State (IS).

With IS losing almost all territory that it once controlled in Iraq and Syria, this was the danger that security experts had predicted. They believed that the group would switch to a franchise model where local radical outfits carry out terror activities in IS’s name. Add to this the potency of modern communication technology that can beam terror events across the globe. This in turn can be used to fuel social polarisation by creating suspicions among communities and gain fresh recruits for IS.

Sri Lanka was targeted because it has a history of fragile ethno-religious relations. Similar social fissures also exist in India. In fact, the recent release of a poster by a pro-IS channel on the Telegram online platform reading ‘Coming Soon’ in Bengali, exemplifies the modus operandi of the terrorists. This could be a plot to stir up communal polarisation in Bengal in the midst of a heated Lok Sabha election season. Despite political differences, Centre and state governments must work together to thwart any terror schemes in Bengal and other parts of the country. There must not be any politics over security. Else Sri Lanka’s massive Easter terror attacks – which apart from the loss of lives is billed to cost its economy $1.5 billion – is a standing example of what can happen. There can be no excuses for not heeding this warning.

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