TAMIL NADU

Terrorism — a `new war' confronting nations

CHENNAI May 9. The real challenge before nations was to ensure ``dignified peace'' while dealing with pluralism in its society and managing diversities, the former Intelligence Bureau director, M.K.Narayanan, said today.

In view of the new challenges from terrorism, ``the defining threat of the 21st century,'' nations should be prepared for ``the new war'' which was ``fundamentally different'' from the conventional ones, he added.

Mr.Narayanan said that this necessitated greater coordination between countries since the World Trade Centre attacks or the one on the Indian Parliament were not aberrations. ``We can and should expect more incidents of this kind,'' he told delegates at an international conference on terrorism, organised by the Madras University's Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies organised here.

A ``new warrior class'' was emerging, which had undergone sophisticated training, he said and added that the networks of terror were finding more professional recruits; not merely the underprivileged and the dispossessed. The methods employed by these dispersed networks was ``asymmetric warfare,'' and the State-sponsorship of terrorism provided them with the required long term continuum.

``For a variety of reasons, terrorism has become the choice of the disaffected and disenfranchised,'' he said. Religion had become a facilitator and a tool in the hands of terrorists. Prior to the Afghan war, radical Islam seemed content to exploit the space left behind by Pan Arab nationalism, he said. Ever since, this had become a new rallying point for the Islamic dispossessed.

The former Commandant, Infantry School, Mhow, D.B.Shekatkar, who delivered the keynote address, said that a clear division was emerging between countries that harbour and sponsor terrorists and countries that fight them.

The University Vice-Chancellor, Pon.Kothandaraman, in his inaugural address, said that terrorism was taking different shapes and was shifting with technological advances.

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