17 March 2017

East Africa: Keeping the Indian Ocean Region Safe Is Critical to Our Economy and Prosperity, Says Sir Anerood

press release

The Indian Ocean region holds strong strategic significance since it handles 30% of global trade and almost half of the global traffic of containers passes through the Indian Ocean waters. Keeping the region safe is critical to our economy and prosperity. That is why we must convey a strong signal that we are united and totally determined in our battle against terror.

This statement was made by the Minister Mentor and Minister of Defence and Rodrigues, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, on 16 March 2017, in his address during the 3rd edition of the Counter Terrorism Conference which was held in New Delhi, India, from 14 to 16 March 2017.

He highlighted that terrorism is posing the gravest threat to mankind while adding that it is a global problem requiring universal action starting with coordination in and between regions. The Global Terrorism Database indicates that from 1970 to 2015, there have been more than 150,000 domestic and international terrorist incidents registered. If in 2010 there were 4782 cases registered, the number almost quadrupled in 2014 with 16,818 incidents, he pointed out.

Speaking about Mauritius' commitment to combat terrorism, the Minister Mentor pointed out that the country is committed to the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and has joined the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism as part of its resolve to combat terrorism.

Sir Anerood Jugnauth said he adheres to the initiative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to create a New Counter-Terrorism Office to be headed by a new Under Secretary-General to ensure that due priority is given to counter-terrorism across the UN system.

In a bid to tackle the issue of terrorism more effectively, he enumerated on a number of proposals and recommendations. They include:

Elaboration of a concerted plan of action that will bring all Indian Ocean countries on a single platform

Development of an Ad Hoc Task Force to deliver capacity-building assistance and share counter-terrorism experience among states

Stepping up of collaborative efforts through capacity building, greater information sharing and usage of more sophisticated technologies

Implementation of National Counter Terrorism strategies to address the root causes of terrorism

Development of effective counter-narratives against extremist propaganda

Enlistment of the cooperation of civil societies, NGOs, parents and teachers in identifying and deterring home-grown violent extremists that seek to disrupt social harmony

Engaging of religious leaders to promote inter-faith dialogue, tolerance and a rejection of the doctrine of violence

Establishment of legal systems that criminalise the movement of foreign terrorists, their logistical support and the networks that facilitate their movements as well as the standardisation of punishment procedures

The Counter Terrorism Conference

The conference, under the theme 'Terrorism in the Indian Ocean Region', was hosted by the India Foundation in association with the Government of Haryana and the National Investigation Agency in India. It brought together field operatives, senior officials from security agencies, policy makers, scholars, and government leaders involved in counter terrorism operations, planning and sensitisation.

During the three-day conference, several themes were discussed. They include: Economic impact of terror and terror financing; Technological dimensions of terrorism; Tackling terror through good governance; Terrorism in South Asia; Terrorism in Africa and South east Asia; Terrorism in West Asia; and Cooperative mechanisms for countering terror in the Indian Ocean Region.

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