Tag Archives: extremism

India and Saudi Arabia will cooperate in areas like counter-terrorism, maritime and cyber security

Newsroom24x7 Network

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud witnessing the Exchange of Agreements between India and Saudi Arabia, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on February 20, 2019.


New Delhi: India and Saudi Arabia have agreed that stronger bilateral cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, maritime security and cyber security will be beneficial for both countries.

Saudi Arabia and India have shared thoughts on need to increase all possible pressure on countries supporting any type of terrorism.

The two leaders discussed the brutal terrorist attack in Pulwama last week

This was underscored in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Press statement during state visit of Mohammed Bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to India on Wednesday, 20 February 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Statement:

“I am very happy to welcome Royal Highness and his delegation on their first state visit to India.

The economic, social and cultural relations of India and Saudi Arabia are centuries old. And it has always been cordial and full of friendship. The close contact between our people is a living bridge for our countries. Your Majesty and Royal Highness, your personal interest and guidance have brought more intensity, depth and strength in our bilateral relations.
Today, in the 21st century, Saudi Arabia is among India’s most valuable strategic partners. Saudi Arabia is in our neighborhood and is a close friend and also an important source of India’s energy security. During my visit to Saudi Arabia in 2016, we had given many new dimensions to our relations, especially in the areas of energy and security. As a result of the meeting we had in Argentina two months ago, the essence of our strategic partnership has expanded in the areas of security, trade and investment. I am happy that as per your suggestion, we have agreed to establish the Biennial Summit and Strategic Partnership Council. This would provide strength, speed and progress to our bilateral relations.


Today, we have made extensive and meaningful discussions on all subjects of bilateral relations. We have decided to take our economic cooperation to new heights. In order to facilitate institutional investment from Saudi Arabia in our economy, we have agreed to establish a framework. I welcome investment by Saudi Arabia in India’s infrastructure sector.

Your Royal Highness,

Your ‘Vision 2030’ and the economic reforms being under your leadership are complementary to India’s major programs such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Start-Up India’. It’s time to turn our energy relations into a strategic partnership. Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the world’s largest refinery and strategic petroleum reserves leads our energy relations far beyond the buyer-seller relationship. We have agreed to strengthen our cooperation in areas of renewable energy. We welcome Saudi Arabia in the International Solar Alliance. The peaceful use of atomic energy, especially for water desalination and health, will be another dimension of our cooperation. Especially in the context of our strategic environment, we have also successfully discussed the strengthening and expanding mutual defense cooperation. Last year, India was the ‘Guest of Honor’ at the prestigious Janradiala ceremony in Saudi Arabia. Today we have the goal of strengthening our cultural ties. E-Visas for the citizens of Saudi Arabia are being expanded to increase trade and tourism. We are grateful to His Majesty and Royal Highness for the growth of the Haj quota for Indians.
Peaceful and useful presence of 2.7 million Indian nationals in Saudi Arabia is an important link between us. Royal Highness has praised their positive contribution in the progress of Saudi Arabia. You have always taken care of their well-being. Their gratitude and prayers are with you.


The brutal terrorist attack in Pulwama last week is a cruel reminder of the threat to humanity that looms large across the globe. In order to deal effectively with this threat, we agree that there is a need to increase all possible pressure on countries supporting any type of terrorism. Destroying the network of terror, punishing terrorists and their supporters is very important. At the same time, there is a strong action plan for cooperation against extremism so that violence and terror cannot mislead our youth. I am glad that Saudi Arabia and India have shared thoughts on this.


Our two countries have common interests in ensuring peace and stability in West Asia and the Gulf. In our talks today, it has been agreed to co-ordinate efforts in this direction and to speed up joint participation. We have also agreed that stronger bilateral cooperation in areas such as counter terrorism, maritime security and cyber security will be beneficial for both countries.

Your Royal Highness,

Your journey has given a new dimension to the rapid development of our relationships. I once again thank the Royal Highness for accepting our invitation. I also wish him and all members of the delegation to enjoy a pleasant stay in India.”

KPS Gill: The man who stood up and drove out the extremists

Rajiv Lochan


All this transformation in Punjab was possible because at one particular moment, one man decided to stand up, convinced many others that they too had the ability to stand up, and drive out the extremists. This man was KPS Gill. Today is his birthday. Best wishes to him.

Almost three decades ago, the policies pursued by the Congress, had showered death and destruction on Punjab. Using that as an opportunity, a handful of people decided to enforce a religion of the book on the people of Punjab. They readily used gun violence against anyone and everyone who objected to such impositions. People called them ‘extremists’.

When the police caught such persons, the justices of Punjab quickly released them. Some in the name of the law, others because the justices were simply too scared to even give the law as an excuse to release extremists. These extremists resorted to the killing of thousands of people. Sometimes these were mass killings done openly. At others these were mass killings done surreptitiously by planting booby trapped bombs.

Thousands were also killed in the name of giving to them the punishment decreed by the extremists.

The Akalis, who till recently had been claiming for themselves the role of the leaders of the Sikhs, went silent and allowed the extremists to take centre stage.

Pakistan by now had become a basket case and a strong believer in another religion of the book. Pakistan provided extensive monetary and logistic support to the extremists in Punjab.

Much monetary help also came from Non-Resident Indians who were now rolling in money in western countries like America, Canada, Germany, Britain and Norway. Using the very lax laws of those lands, these extremists used the protection of the law of those lands to fund and encourage violence in Punjab.

In areas like Tarn Taran, every evening would bring tractor trolleys full of dead bodies to the local PHC for disposal. These were bodies of those who had been shot the previous night by the extremists. Often such killings were the consequence of men folk of a house objecting to the rape of their women or the looting of their belongings.

It was routine for the extremists to kill all the dogs in a locality to ensure that no one was warned about their nightly movements.

The government of India stood by helplessly all this while.

Then, KPS Gill was asked to head the police force and take Punjab back from the hands of the extremists. In a few months he was able to convince the people of Punjab that the police was capable of protecting them from the extremists.

In a few more months, with active help and support from the people, Gill was able to snatch Punjab back from the terrorists and impose the rule of the law once again.

Gill showed to the world that it was possible to contain a terrorist movement. By now, the political leadership too stopped playing around with religion as a tool to mobilise the people. The people of Punjab too realised the insidious role that NRIs had played in fomenting extremism.

Gradually many of the extremists too realised how misled they were by both, Pakistan and the NRIs. Many of the extremists joined the normal democratic political process. Many like Simranjit Singh Mann, a former police officer, continue to pursue the cause of imposing a religion based state on Punjab but, today Mann is not eager to pursue his cause through the barrel of a gun. He seeks alternate, more peaceful ways to convert people to his views.

All this transformation in Punjab was possible because at one particular moment, one man decided to stand up, convinced many others that they too had the ability to stand up, and drive out the extremists. This man was KPS Gill.

Rajiv Lochan
Rajiv Lochan

The Author, a Jawaharlal Nehru University alumnus, is a renowned historian.

Global coalition meets in London to discuss efforts to defeat ISIL

Newsroom24 Desk

london press meetLondon, Jan. 23: US Secretary of State John Kerry said at the Foreign and Commonwealth office here Thursday that the recent terrible events in Paris have reminded us that the battle against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant also called ISIS) is not confined within the borders of Iraq and Syria and that this poisonous ideology threatens our own citizens and the citizens of our allies.

Addressing a joint press conference with UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Mr. Kerry said 21 key members of the global coalition met in London today (Jan.22) to review and discuss efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL not just through military force, but by addressing the underlying narrative of the organization, its financing, its flow of foreign fighters, and by reasserting our commitment to Iraq. In total, over 60 countries have signed up to the global coalition, showing the international will and commitment to combat this threat.

On the military track, coalition airstrikes have helped to halt ISIL’s advance, and we’ve had an update today from General Allen (John R. Allen, AO is a United States Marine Corps four-star general) on the work to rebuild, re-equip, and retrain the Iraqi Security Forces, allowing them in due course to push ISIL back and reassert Iraqi sovereignty over all the territory of Iraq, Mr. Kerry told journalists adding “beyond our military action, we reviewed how we’re doing in our
efforts against ISIL’s finances and in countering their twisted narrative, how effectively we are delivering our efforts against the flow of foreign fighters arriving to fight in their ranks.” And, he elaborated, in each case, we talked about what more we can do together to achieve our objectives in these areas. We reviewed, too, how we can offer support to those who are most affected by the humanitarian crisis that the rise of ISIL in Iraq and Syria has brought about across the region.

The global coalition meeting, according to Mr.Kerry, confirmed the determination of our broad and united coalition to defeat not only ISIL, but also the ideology that underlies it, and not just in Iraq and Syria, but wherever it rears its head. We recognize that political progress in both Iraq and Syria will be vital in ultimately defeating ISIL in those countries, and Prime Minister Abadi updated the meeting on progress to date and the significant challenges remaining. We congratulated him on the progress that has been made in Iraq in the hundred or so days since he formed his government and reaffirmed our support for what he is doing.

Most importantly, we all confirmed our commitment to the struggle, however long it takes and wherever it leads us, to defeating the scourge of violent Islamist extremism, said Mr. Kerry.

Haider al-Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq said on this occasion: “we are here to strengthen the international coalition against Daesh and the terrorist organizations. I’m personally here to get more support from our partners, and I’m very glad I have heard a lot of commitment from our partners to support Iraq in its fight against Daesh. This is quite important for the Iraqi people and very important for our military.”

The Iraqi Prime Minister said in the last month, there has been an increase in the air campaign against Daesh positions in terms of number and effectiveness, and many countries take part in this program and in this campaign in the reconnaissance and in the actual bombing of Daesh targets. We
have seen an increase in delivering of arms and munitions. He summed up the meeting as “very open” and said a lot of issues standing in the way to stamp out Daesh were discussed. Iraqi forces are achieving a lot of progress on the ground, and the Government of Iraq has been reaching out to all political and communities inside Iraq and to the region. “I think we have established now a very successful network and cooperation with the regional powers, neighboring countries of Iraq and in the region and inside Iraq. And this is very important to fight Daesh. We cannot fight Daesh without this progress. And the international coalition, which we attended today, will strengthen our resolution to fight Daesh,” he emphasised.

The fiscal problem for Iraq especially as oil prices have dropped to about 40 percent of their level last year, was also discussed at the meeting, Mr. Al-Abadi said pointing out that the Iraqi economy and budget relies 85 percent on oil, and this has been disastrous for us. Daesh is a terrorist organization. It knows no race, no religion, no region. It spares nobody, so everybody must be facing Daesh, he went on to assert.

Mr. KERRY told media-persons at this juncture that in Brussels there were representatives from 60 different countries representing a very broad, worldwide range of views and of priorities. here they are together with the very same goal. “We all understand that Daesh, as it is commonly known in the Arab world, is not simply a Syrian problem. It’s not an Iraqi problem. Daesh is a global problem, and it demands a coordinated, comprehensive, and enduring global response”, he observed.

In Mr Kerry’s words:

The coalition came together around the joint statement that was issued out of the meeting in Brussels, and that outlines our multiple lines of effort that we are currently engaged in – providing security assistance, strengthening the capacity of Iraq to stand on its own, protecting our homelands, disrupting the flow of foreign fighters, draining Daesh’s financial resources, providing humanitarian relief to victims, and ultimately defeating what Daesh represents, defeating
Daesh as an idea, if it can be called that.

And all the coalition partners are continuing to make vital contributions to this, and we mean all 60. Whether it’s sheltering refugees, training, advising Iraqi troops on the front lines, or speaking out against Daesh’s hateful, false ideology, we appreciate the contribution of every single member, each of whom has chosen one line of effort or another.But we also recognize the need to, as effectively as possible, be able to coordinate all of these contributions. And that’s what the small group that came here today set out to do. The small group will continue to meet on a regular basis and continue, obviously, to consult with the full 60 members of the coalition, who will meet again as a full membership. But in the meantime, we want to ensure that we are synchronized, that we are unified, that we are effective, that we are able to carry out each line of effort as rapidly and as efficiently as possible. As agreed in Brussels, we will establish an expert-level series of working groups to pool resources and expertise from coalition capitals in order to defeat Daesh as an organization. And thereby, we will combat its manpower, its resources, its recruiting, and its ideology.

The full plenary will convene again later this year in order to draw from the lessons that we have learned all around the world. And as I think many of you are aware, President Obama has invited countries to come and join in a consultation about violent extremism in Washington in the month of February, during which time we will have civil society, religious leaders, students, NGOs, others, plus government ministers, and we will have a subsequent ministerial meeting ourselves at the State Department. All of this is to try to build capacity, build efficiency – basically, just to get the job done.

Now obviously, there is a tremendous amount of work that is already underway. In recent months, we have seen, definitively, Daesh’s momentum halted in Iraq, and in some cases reversed. And while Daesh may make some announcement about some distant location where four or five people have chosen to affiliate with them, that does not represent advances in the front line of the initiative that we have begun with, which is building the capacity of Iraq to be able to defend itself. And that process is very much underway at this time. There’s a – it’s important to note that ground forces, supported by nearly 2,000 airstrikes now, have reclaimed more than 700 square kilometers from Daesh. Coalition training and advising efforts in Iraq are underway and ramping up, with the goal of ultimately raising 12 new Iraqi brigades. And this spring, we’re going to begin training for the Syrian opposition forces at camps in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar.

The fact is that, while the trajectory of this fight, as President Obama and other leaders have said from the beginning, will be neither short nor easy – that has been a consistent statement – today we are seeing important gains along all the lines of effort, and we discussed these gains in detail today, as well as the necessary steps that we have to take to build on them. I don’t think there’s any undertaking in its early months where you can’t do better and you can’t find things you can’t improve on, and that’s precisely what we talked about here today.

So let me also add that we’re not only focused on defeating Daesh and liberating the areas that are under its control in the short term, but we’re also concerned with helping Daesh’s victims to rebuild their lives once Daesh is long gone. And this is absolutely critical. These communities will need police and local governance in order to ensure that – law and order, and in order to restore ties with the central government. They’ll need provisions for basic resources like electricity and water. And those who’ve suffered unimaginable horrors under Daesh, especially women and girls, will continue to need the kind of humanitarian relief that countries around the world have generously been providing since this crisis began. To that end, we commend the recent UN announcement of a multi-partner recover and stabilization fund, and this fund will support Iraqi- led stabilization efforts in communities that have been rescued from Daesh’s grip. And for many, it will self – it will literally serve as the bridge between horror and hope.

As President Obama said in his State of the Union Address a couple of days ago, this effort will take time, it will require focus, but we will succeed. Tomorrow, I will travel to Davos, Switzerland. I think the prime minister is going today; I think we’re speaking almost one right after the other. And at that time, I’ll speak in greater detail about our global efforts, and global efforts that are necessary to prevent and combat violent extremism.

But for now let me just underscore this: This is a huge task with no shortcuts. We’ve made progress in coordinating our efforts today, and we will continue to make progress, including at the summit on opposing extremist violence that I talked about a moment ago that the President – President Obama will convene.

After five months of close collaboration on this effort, I can tell you that Prime Minister Abadi, Foreign Secretary Hammond, and all of the coalition partners here today fully recognize how important this moment is, and restated their commitment to see this through. And we know that we have to get it right, and that is precisely what the subject matter of this meeting most focused on.

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