In a rare first, India has given a financial assistance of USD 500,000 to the Philippines to take on the Islamic State (IS) militants.
India, which ranks 7th among countries most hit by terror attacks as per the latest Global Terrorism Index released by Sydney-based think-tank Institute for Economics & Peace, made the move a week after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held talks with Foreign Secretary of Philippines Alan Peter Cayetano (on July 6). Cayetano told the Indian minister that it became really difficult for the Southeast Asian nation to fight against IS-affiliated terror groups in Marawi (800km south of Manila) in the troubled Mindanao Province. Swaraj expressed “sympathies and condolences for the tragic loss of life in Marawi” and assured the senior Filipino official that New Delhi would send financial aid to Manila for relief and rehabilitation from deadly terror groups.
Speaking at a press conference in the Indian capital on Wednesday, a top External Affairs Ministry official said that India decided to send financial aid to a neighbouring country only to save itself from deadly terror groups. He also said that a number of terror outfits are very active in South and Southeast Asia. So, according to the official, it is important for countries in the region to strengthen anti-terror co-operation.
Meanwhile, the Narendra Modi government in India has expressed serious concern over the ongoing battle between the Filipino forces and IS-affiliated groups, as at least 90 soldiers, 380 terrorists and dozens of civilians have already been killed. Hundreds are still held hostage and the battle is under way. New Delhi further assured Manila that it would provide all sorts of help to the Filipino armed forces to win the battle, if required.
With the Filipino forces encountering IS snipers and booby traps in Marawi, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao Province for 60 days. He expressed hope that the Army would complete the operation in another 15 days, saying that foreign fighters from Malaysia and Indonesia joined the Filipino terrorists (belong to Maute group that is associated with the Abu Sayyaf group that is part of IS’ global footprint).
As per the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2016, 797 terrorist attacks were recorded in India in 2015, up 4% from 2014. The index said that the South Asian nation also recorded 289 terrorism-related deaths in 2015, a 45% decline over 2014. While the attacks in 2015 were the highest since 2000, 80% were non-lethal. Overall, 49 different terrorist groups were engaged in attacks, but 31 of these failed to kill anyone.
In the last three years, India experienced 7% of all terrorist attacks around the world – the fourth highest after Iraq (20%), Afghanistan (14%) and Pakistan (8%).
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