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Delink religion from terror, need new strategies, says PM

Country 'running at' 7.5% and will grow 'even faster'

Press Trust of India  |  Kuala Lumpur 

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

Warning that terrorism was the “biggest threat” to the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said it should be delinked from religion. He pitched for new global anti-terror strategies while ensuring that no country gives sanctuary to terror, in a veiled reference to Pakistan.

He underlined the need for ensuring that internet does not become a “recruiting ground” for terrorism, amid the growing trend of ISIS luring youth from across the globe, and spoke about the world coming together to use “military force” and “international legal systems” to fight the menace. He referred to the recent attacks in Paris, Ankara, Mali and on the Russian plane and said terrorism is not a “peripheral problem” for the Asian region but its shadow stretches across the world, both in recruitment and choice of targets.

Modi, who addressed the East Asian Summit and spoke to the Indian diaspora on the second day of his three-day visit to Malaysia, stressed the need for working “within our societies and with our youth” to counter terrorism. Modi walked up to the stage and hailed the 15,000-strong crowd, a majority of them Tamil-Malaysians, with a “vanakkam” (hello in Tamil) amid chants of “Modi, Modi”.

He will visit Singapore on Monday and Tuesday and also address an Indian community event there.

Modi also said he had “wide ranging talks” on bilateral issues with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during their meeting in Kuala Lumpur. “Happy to meet my friend, Premier Li Keqiang. We had wide-ranging talks on India-China ties during our meeting. Here is a picture,” Modi said in post on Chinese Sina Weibo microblog.

He said India was a bright spot amid global slowdown. The country was “running at” 7.5 per cent and would grow “even faster” in the coming years, he said, while addressing the Indian diaspora on the second day of his three-day visit to Malaysia. “Every major global institution has placed its bets on India growing strongly.”

In a 45-minute speech at the Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre earlier, he said terrorism was the “biggest threat to the world today. It knows no boundaries. It uses the name of religion to draw people to its cause but kills people of all faiths.”

He went on to add: “We have to delink religion from terror. The only distinction is between those who believe in humanity and who does not.... We also have to work within the society, specially the youth.”

Pitching for a united global fight against terrorism, he said it should be ensured that “no country promotes terrorism, there is no sanctuary, there is funds and there is no arms.” Though he did not name any country, his mention about sanctuaries was an apparent reference to Pakistan where several terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba are based and nurtured by the establishment.

Pushing for enhanced intelligence cooperation among countries, Modi said it has to be ensured that “Internet does not become a recruiting ground” for terrorism.

“I have said it earlier, I will say it again. The world must come together to combat the biggest challenge of our times....We can strengthen intelligence cooperation, we can use military force, we can make international legal systems for making cooperation stronger,” he said.

Earlier, addressing the East Asia Summit, Modi said, "We often thought of terrorism as a peripheral problem for this region. The barbaric terrorist strikes in Paris, Ankara, Beirut, Mali and on the Russian aircraft is a stark reminder that its shadow stretches across our societies and our world, both in recruitment and choice of targets."

He called for a new global resolve and new strategies to combat terrorism, without balancing it against political considerations and said no country should use or support terrorism.

"There is no distinction between groups. There are no sanctuaries. There are no funds. There is no access to arms. But, we also have to work within our societies and with our youth," the Prime Minister added.

On the upcoming Paris climate conference which he will be attending along with several world leaders on November 30, Modi said "we must also stand together to send a clear message that we will not retreat in the face of terror" besides coming together to "craft a balanced and concrete outcome" on climate change.

He reaffirmed India's active participation in the ASEAN led security dialogue and cooperation forums and said the East Asia Summit must continue to support the evolution of an inclusive, balanced, transparent and open regional architecture for security and cooperation.

"We must deepen our collective commitment to strengthen and abide by international rules and norms," he said.

At the address to the Indian diaspora, which mostly constituted of Malay Indians, Modi began with Tamil word 'Vanakkam' (welcome) and followed it with a few sentences in Tamil, drawing applause.

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First Published: Mon, November 23 2015. 00:15 IST