By Sudhansu R Das
The Defense Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh while addressing the Asian Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus in a virtual mode said, “Terrorism and radicalization are the gravest threats to peace and security that the world is facing today.” The ADMN-Plus is an association of Southeast Asian Nations and its eight dialogue partners — India, China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States; the group have converged on to address problems related to maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations. The ADMN-Plus should consciously treat the root cause of the radical thought formation.
Rich nations compete among themselves to build infrastructures, supply weapons, give aid to the radical thought producing nations rich; ultimately it helps their leaders amass wealth to radical ideology among the deprived class in the developing nations. A British study has found that Saudi Arabia plays a key role in the radicalization of young Muslims. In order to reduce the radicalization of tender Muslim minds the rich nations should also reign in on their greed infested economic thinking and guide the developing nations to protect their diverse economic activities for inclusive growth. The best antidote for radical thought is job creation in multiple sectors and proper education. Small steps can be taken to keep the radical ideologues at bay.
First, the rich nations should stop building needless infrastructure in those countries for profit and stop selling weapons to those nations who do not want to give up radical ideology. In the past decades, US wooed Pakistan with huge aids, technology and weapons for tracking Taliban in Afghanistan; it did not help US; now US is withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. US President, Joe Biden announced that all US troops would leave Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. Now, the people of Afghanistan will have to decide whether they want to choose a violent path or to mend their way to build the core strength of a nation: democracy, education, sports, research and governance etc. The US while withdrawing its troops should extend all help to Afghanistan to achieve those core objectives of Afghanistan in the next ten years.
Radicalization breeds violence and violence gives birth to the worst kind violence; the cycle continues until it converts the innocent people into ferocious beasts. Violence, war and anti terror operations impoverish the countries; the adverse effects of which always spill over to rich countries. History has recorded how traditionally peace loving religious communities became ferocious warriors after they faced brutal attacks from other religious communities. The de-radicalization process will gain momentum if good leaders from the religious communities take the lead and guide their communities on the path of real spiritual, economic and social development.
Second, a drastic cut in the fossil fuel demand will definitely slow down the radicalization process across the world. The developed nations should quickly pass on the technology for producing alternative energy to the developing nations at a lower cost. This action will compel the fossil fuel rich countries to focus on education, health, research and governance of the country so that they could acquire the core strength to survive without fossil fuel export.
Third, the developed nations should also give stern warning to their own religious leaders not to spread hatred or doubt against any other religions directly or indirectly; no organized religion should lure innocent poor people to change religious faith. Choosing religious faith is an individual decision and it should not be imposed on people for building business or political empires. Imposing one religion or one economic model on people lets disappear hundreds of micro economic activities and skills which are always enshrined in ethnic cultures. Unemployment breeds unrest and terrorism.
Fourth, in order to stop the radicalization of tender minds, there is an urgent need to ban any book with words of hatred for human beings of other religious communities. Teachers who poison the young minds with radical thoughts should be deported or punished. States should put a conscious effort to quarantine the minds of the teachers; training camps should be arranged for the teachers to exchange religious ideas and learn the core principles of different religions. They will learn to respect other religions also.
Fifth, developed nations should ensure that people in poor countries are able to preserve economic diversity; this will keep people busy and allow them to focus on education, health and employment of their families. No effort should be made to destroy the micro economic diversity which provides livelihood to people from different backgrounds. Illiterate people when they become idle due to loss of activity fall victim to the radical ideologies.
Terrorism and anti-terrorism are not compatible to the new world which has become too close to exchange ideas, goods, skill and technology for mutual growth. A genuine and healthy global trade offers the biggest opportunity to countries for social, economic and spiritual development.