The Delhi Declaration recently announced during the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit focused on cooperation against terrorism and freedom in the maritime domain. ASEAN–India commemorative summit would largely cater to the needs of Indian security to marks 25 years of diplomatic partnership.

 

Significance:

 

  • India and 10 ASEAN countries for first time mentioned cross-border movement of terrorists and made commitment to counter the challenge through close cooperation as part of the declaration.
  • For India, this emboldens Delhi’s efforts to list JEM chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, and pressure Pakistan to take action against Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa founder Hafiz Saeed.
  • This assumes significance as India has always accused Pakistan of cross-border terrorism and many ASEAN countries have been victims of terrorist attacks in Indonesia and Thailand among others.
  • It also agreed to uphold freedom in the maritime domain. Maritime cooperation can lead to freedom of navigation, anti piracy initiatives as well.
  • Countries would deepen cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, violent extremism and radicalisation through information sharing, law enforcement cooperation and capacity building under the existing ASEAN-led mechanisms.
  • More cooperation for Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the United Nations is gained.

 

Issues/Challenges:

 

  • ASEAN policy-making is slow in its production of legislation as well as its ratification process and implementation of measures.
  • Southeast Asia’s counter- terrorism landscape is highly complex and asymmetrical in terms of member states’ respective counter-terrorist capabilities, efficiency and involvement in transnational cooperation.
  • Some of the ASEAN members are part of China’s one road one belt initiative so its not sure to what extent they would put pressure on Pakistan and even China.
  • India’s terrorism concerns largely emanate from western borders so this declaration does not deal with that.
  • Necessary infrastructure to uphold security is lagging in north east so only information sharing might not help.
  • Chinese dominance in Indo pacific region: Countries are still divided on ideological lines with respect to maritime cooperation.

 

Suggestions:

 

  • There is a need for developing more infrastructure with integrated border management at the borders especially of Indian Myanmar.
  • In light of the extensive use of modern communication technologies by terrorists, individuals vulnerable to extremist discourse tend to radicalise or self-radicalise online. Any strategy aimed at disrupting radicalisation, recruitment and recidivism by former offenders must therefore include an online aspect. But states have so far experienced difficulty in dealing with online propaganda.
  • Technological capabilities can be increased along the border to reduce loss of human life.
  • The “build community” approach to counterinsurgency is something widely shared by experts and world leaders.
  • More exercises and workshops can be initiated by countries for greater cooperation in upholding Delhi declaration.
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