With 187 of the world's 343 non-state armed groups operating in Asia, the countries of the region as also the global community must unite to find ways and means to cooperate in the war against terror, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Tuesday.
"Out of the 343 non-state armed groups operating in the world, 187 groups operate in the Asian region," he said while inaugurating the 10th Asian Security Conference in the Capital, adding: "Nations must devise ways and means to cooperate to effectively counter terrorism."
"The world today realises that no nation can consider itself to be immune from terrorism. The lessons learnt elsewhere can prove to be useful in devising our policies. Similarly, other nations too can benefit from our experiences," the minister maintained.
According to Antony, the emergence of non-state players was a "grave challenge" confronting all nations.
"These non-state players do not recognise any territorial boundaries. They utilise latest global communication and transport networks and rely on garnering international support. Their common objective is to disturb existing state apparatus, destabilise neighbouring states and create new states based on ethno-cultural identity," the minister said.
"Most of these non-state players are not fighting for a national identity, or territory and have abstract notions of carving out a separate and unique identity of their own based on ethnicity, religious and tribal basis," he added.
In this context, he suggested a three-pronged strategy to meet "various challenges effectively".
"The first one is to maintain an active dialogue process, not only among governments, but also defence establishments to build strong channels of communication and dispel mistrust.
"Secondly, we must develop mechanisms to share intelligence about terror groups, criminal elements, drug cartels and other transnational networks that foment violence and subvert states.
"Thirdly, we must attempt to devise common solutions to common challenges that threaten our collective security. We need to develop multilateral frameworks to promote dialogue and prepare strategies for cooperative action," Antony said.
India, the minister pointed out, has been the target of disruptive elements for several years, with major world powers believing that "they would be immune to such elements and had as such, little sympathy for our concerns.
"However, now all nations realise and accept the need for greater cooperation in effectively meeting such challenges," Antony added.