Drop notion of his terrorist is not my terrorist: Modi’s plea at NSS

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Apr 01, 2016 10:19 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made an impassioned plea for “genuine cooperation” among nations as the only deterrence against nuclear terrorism.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made an impassioned plea for “genuine cooperation” among nations as the only deterrence against nuclear terrorism.

“Drop the notion that terrorism is someone else’s problem and that ‘his’ terrorist is not ‘my’ terrorist,” he said at a dinner hosted for the visiting world leaders by President Barack Obama.

Arguing that while “the reach and supply chains” of terrorism are global, “genuine cooperation between nations is not”, he said, according to a string of tweets from the MEA spokesman.

The dinner attended by leaders of delegations from over 50 countries launched the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, with three plenary sessions slated for Friday.

Modi, who was seated on Obama’s right (Chinese president Xi Jinping sat on the president’s left, highlighting in a way his Asia pivot) argued strongly for new thinking on combating terrorism.

“Terror has evolved,” Modi said. “Terrorists are using 21st century technology. But our responses are rooted in the past.” They are globally networked, but the world reacts nationally.

There was a need to upgrade the world’s basic response to terrorism. “Without prevention and prosecution of acts of terrorism there is no deterrence against nuclear terrorism.”

Citing the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, the prime minister said they showed “us how real and immediate is the threat to nuclear security from terrorism”.

The two brothers who carried out the March 22 bombings in Brussels that killed over 30 people had surveilled a top scientist working at a Belgian nuclear power plant.

A video of the surveillance found at the brothers’ apartment raised fears the Islamic State was planning to attack a nuclear facility, which could cause devastation of untold proportions.

The prime minister said the Brussels attack and the danger of nuclear terrorism brought to the fore three features of contemporary terrorism, which require urgent attention.

First, “today’s terrorism uses extreme violence as theatre”, a reference perhaps to Islamic State’s tendency to stage killings and attacks in a manner that attracts global attention.

Second, he said, “we are no longer looking for a man in a cave (a reference perhaps to Osama bin Laden), but we are hunting for a terrorist in a city with a computer or a smart phone.”

And, third, “state actors working with nuclear traffickers and terrorists present the greatest risk”, which was an unmistakably clear reference to Pakistan without naming it.

Pakistan’s dealings with nuclear traffickers are well established, specifically the nuclear black market run by a man called the father of Pakistani nuclear bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

And Pakistani government’s continuing usage of terrorists as a foreign policy tool — in India and Afghanistan, for example — is not the world’s best keep secret. Thus the obvious reference.

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