Friday, October 15, 2004

Bangladesh: Analysis - Islamic Miltancy and its transnational dimension

[ In the context of Bangladesh, the militants who are targeting democracy have clearly brought in their deadly weaponry from abroad and it is difficult to believe that all funding for anti-democratic elements in Bangladesh originates from inside the country. In addition, when Bangladesh is the locus of massive and to date unexplained hauls of deadly arms that come from abroad, it is clear that what we have on our hands is not merely an internal problem, but one that has a transnational dimension.]

Militancy in South Asia

Regional approach is indispensable

Speaking at a seminar jointly organised by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (Biiss) and the French and German embassies in Dhaka, former chief justice and chief of caretaker government Latifur Rahman called for a coordinated effort to counter militancy in the South Asia region. We agree wholeheartedly that such an initiative is long overdue, and believe that a lasting solution to the problem of militancy in the region cannot be achieved unless the threat is addressed at a regional level.

The simple and unavoidable fact of the matter is that all nations in South Asia suffer from militancy of some form or another and that the extent of the threat faced by each nation is not confined within its borders.

In the context of Bangladesh, the militants who are targeting democracy have clearly brought in their deadly weaponry from abroad and it is difficult to believe that all funding for anti-democratic elements in Bangladesh originates from inside the country. In addition, when Bangladesh is the locus of massive and to date unexplained hauls of deadly arms that come from abroad, it is clear that what we have on our hands is not merely an internal problem, but one that has a transnational dimension.

Not only this, the internal security concerns of any one country in the region spill over to negatively affect the security situation in neighbouring countries, which gives us a very real stake in the reduction of tension or militancy outside of Bangladesh. The same is true for all the countries in the region. Furthermore, militancy is also often connected to other issues of transnational significance which require a transnational solution.

In this day and age it is not possible for a country to fully address its own security concerns solely at the national level without cooperation and intelligence from its neighbours. There is no doubt that greater cooperation on all matters of multilateral economic concern is the prized agenda in South Asia, but when it comes to questions of security even though a realisation exists that taking a regional approach to checking militancy is the only solution, it remains to be translated into reality. The governments in the region must put aside their mutual mistrust and recognise that it is only through cooperation and coordination that the threat of militancy in South Asia can be defeated.

Daily Star 14/10/2004