14 March 2018
Following its defeat in Iraq and Syria last year the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) has expanded to other parts of the Muslim world including Southeast Asia by linking up with local militant groups. Countries in the region recognise the need for stronger cooperation in counter-terrorism and are increasingly roping in their militaries.
Following the shrinking of its battle space in Iraq and Syria, the group that calls itself Islamic State (IS) is expanding worldwide, including to Southeast Asia. Against the backdrop of the rising terrorist threat, Singapore as chair of ASEAN will host a series of meetings to discuss the renewed threat and enhance the region’s counter-terrorism cooperation to tackle it. Last week, Singapore hosted the 15th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting to discuss ways to build capacity and strengthen practical regional cooperation.
The ASEAN defence ministers who had met earlier at their retreat in Singapore on 6 February 2018 identiﬁed terrorism as the single biggest threat to the region, even as they recognised several other regional security challenges, ranging from the troubled South China Sea to the North Korea issue. In a joint statement following the retreat, the ministers noted: “Terrorism is a severe threat to ASEAN’s progress, prosperity and very way of life.”
… Rohan Gunaratna is head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research and professor of security studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. A version of this appeared in The Straits Times.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 15/03/2018