Amid the expanding footprint of Islamic State across the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday warned that “preachers of hate and violence” were threatening the fabric of society and asked the youth to build a counter narrative to extremist ideologies.
He also emphasised that those giving shelter to terrorists and using them as political instruments must be condemned, an apparent reference to Pakistan.
Addressing the students at the University of Nairobi here, Modi pitched for a world free from terror and hate, saying safety and security of people and societies is essential for realising the benefits of the economic progress.
“Preachers of hate and violence are threatening the fabric of our society,” he said.
Underlining the need to counter radicalisation, he said, “Youth can play an important role in building a counter narrative to extremist ideologies.”
His comments assume significance in view of the expanding footprint of IS, which is particularly attracting the youth through a campaign of radicalisation.
A recent case in point was the > Dhaka attack on July 1 at a cafe by a group of six educated youth in which 22 people, mostly foreigners, were killed.
Some of these six attackers were allegedly influenced by the controversial Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik, who gives sermons on a TV channel.
There are also growing apprehensions of Indian youth being attracted to IS with the news of 15 youngsters from Kerala going missing mysteriously.
The Prime Minister, while speaking about developmental strides, also added, “A steady march towards our economic goals is indeed a priority. But we also cannot ignore the safety of our people.”
“We must be equally condemning of those who give shelter to terrorists and use them as political instruments,” the Prime Minister said, in an apparent reference to Pakistan where anti-India terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad are based and carry out strikes in India with the alleged support of Pakistani establishment.
“Terrorism knows no boundaries, no religion, no race and no values,” Mr. Modi asserted.
Maritime security and cooperation
Turning to maritime security, he said there was a need to stand guard against sea-borne threats. He also pressed the need for ensuring that piracy did not affect the movements in the maritime area and that freedom of navigation is ensured for all.
Pitching for closer security cooperation with Kenya and other African countries connected with India by the Indian Ocean, he said the eastern coast of Africa was facing challenges. “Coastal security is a matter of deeper engagement,” he said, while asking Africa to ensure that its safety is not compromised.
Talking about cooperation with Kenya, he said India was ready to share its experiences and expertise in diversified areas like telecom, agriculture, energy and IT. “As you march towards your destiny, you will find in India a trusted and reliable partner,” he told the Kenyans.
'Lasting partnership with Kenya'
Expressing keenness to forge a lasting partnership with Kenya, Mr. Modi said there are enough opportunities in the 21st century for cooperation, not only for the common good of the people of the two countries but the world at large.
“We trade more than ever before. But we must explore ways of working together in more areas,” he said, while identifying manufacturing as one of the sectors in this regard.
Talking about “India’s rise”, the Prime Minister said it was happening because of its 800 million youth. “I am one of them,” quipped Modi who said he was like a 20-year-old at “heart“.
He said his government is targeting to create 500 million new jobs by 2020, which is “not possible without reposing faith in the youth“.
Modi, who offered floral tributes at a statue of Mahatma Gandhi which had been installed in the University complex exactly 60 years ago, spoke about the centuries-old ties between India and Kenya and said these need to be taken forward.
“Both India and Kenya are flourishing democracies. Both want peace and prosperity of our people,” he said, adding the two countries have been bonded by such values.
Praising the Indian diaspora in Kenya, he said the Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) are treated as the 43rd tribe in this country which has 42 tribes.