Calling terrorism as “the mother of all disruptions today’’, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said terrorism was also actively utilized as an instrument of statecraft but that time has passed.
She said there there was a time when it was seen as other people’s problem or a law and order situation. Now, she cautioned, challenge is greater with coming in of radicalization. She strongly favoured a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism.
`We are all now very clear that terrorism anywhere can threaten societies everywhere. The challenge is even more serious in a digital age, with greater propensity to radicalization. However, there are still old assumptions and established mindsets in this regard. Partly because of the 9/11 precedent, we associate terrorism with ungoverned spaces,’’ Ms. Swaraj said.
While addressing the third edition of Raisina Dialogue, organized by ORF and MEA, External Affairs Minister cited example of ISIS which has reinforced the stereotype of associating terrorism with ungoverned spaces.
` While not without basis, what is even more dangerous is terrorism from governed spaces; in fact, terrorism actively supported and sponsored by states. To expect that an activity which draws on all the ills of the world – fanaticism, crime, bloodshed and illegal trade – will not have a corrosive impact beyond its intended arena is unrealistic,’’ she said while sounding a note of caution.
The Minister warned that terrorism will not spare its originators and practitioners. `The message is particularly to those who continue to believe that it can be an instrument of convenience,’’ she said. Pointing to the theme the Dialogue “Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms”, Ms. Swaraj said terrorism is the mother of all disruptions.
She said that international relations today have seen a sharp departure from long standing assumptions and practices. “Some of that certainly reflects structural trends, that have led to the rebalancing of the global economy, and consequently, of international politics. This is particularly true in respect of Asia,’’ she added.
At the same time, there is no denying that in response to a combination of security, economic and social developments, globalization itself is in retreat politically, she pointed out. “The manner in which the world identifies and prioritizes challenges, is no longer the same. In many ways, neither is the conduct of international relations, especially in its shift away from multilateralism and alliances,’’ the Minister elaborated.
`What has been notable in this transition, has been the impact of disruptive phenomena on it. This includes disruptions within societies, as well as between them,’’ she said. At its most positive, she said there has been an undeniable growth in prosperity in wide swathes of the world. “Societies, that for many years lived below poverty levels, are today witnessing rapidly expanding middle classes. This is reflected in the emergence of new centres of production as indeed it has of consumption,’’ she said.
In India, a range of social, economic and developmental initiatives and campaigns have truly unleashed transformational possibilities, the Minister said. While some address issues of gender balance and literacy levels, others focus on equipping our youth for employment, through skills preparation and start-up capabilities, she told the select gathering. .
`Finding greater common ground for more effective international relations and more efficient global economics is today a big challenge,’’ Ms. Swaraj said.